INDIANAPOLIS — Two Northwest Indiana men have been sentenced to probation and ordered to repay thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits they were not entitled to receive.
Adam Hale Sr., 54, of Gary, pleaded guilty in August to misdemeanor welfare fraud for collecting $8,431.25 in improper unemployment benefits, according to Lake County court records and the Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD).
Hale was ordered to serve one year on probation and also must return his ill-gotten gains to the state workforce agency.
In LaPorte County, Ad Winston, 48, of Michigan City, pleaded guilty last month to felony welfare fraud and must pay $18,312 in unemployment benefits restitution to DWD.
Winston also served seven days in jail and will be on probation for the next three years, according to court records.
DWD routinely obtains wage reports and new hire data from Indiana employers that it uses to ensure Hoosiers are not illegally collecting unemployment insurance benefits based on false, misreported or unreported employment records.
"Combating fraud preserves employer-paid monies in the trust fund for those individuals whom are truly in need of unemployment insurance benefits," said Regina Ashley, DWD unemployment benefits officer.
Suspected unemployment fraud can anonymously be reported online at in.gov/dwd/fraud.