Missouri state worker charged with stealing $140,000 from unemployment insurance funds | USAO-EDMO and more Latest News

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ST. LOUIS — A Missouri state employee has been charged with three federal felonies and accused of using her spot to send about $140,500 in unearned unemployment benefits to associates, family members and others people.

According to the indictment, Vicky Hefner, 63, of Jefferson County, Missouri, began working with the Missouri Department of Labor and Industrial Relations, Division of Employment Security as a job security specialist. profit program in 2009. She worked from her residence and a workplace in St. Louis helping individuals file claims over the phone and resolving issues that individuals had with unemployment claims.

From July to December 2020, Hefner logged into the accounts of a number of associates, family members or associates, according to the indictment. She changed their status and used her credentials in ways that made them eligible for unemployment benefits or increased their benefits, according to the indictment,

She also triggered unemployment funds for people who were still working, the indictment says. Hefner’s associates and family members then paid bribes to him, according to the indictment.

Hefner was indicted by a federal grand jury on September 28 on three counts of theft of public money. She pleaded not responsible for the charges last week. Each charge carries a penalty of up to 10 years in prison, a fantastic $250,000, or each. If found guilty, Hefner can also be ordered to return the money.

The counts set out in an indictment are charges only and do not constitute proof of guilt. All defendants are presumed harmless until and until their responsibility is confirmed.

The matter was investigated by the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of Labor. Assistant U.S. Attorney Edward Dowd III is prosecuting the case.

Missouri state worker charged with stealing $140,000 from unemployment insurance funds | USAO-EDMO

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Missouri state worker charged with stealing $140,000 from unemployment insurance funds | USAO-EDMO

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Missouri state worker charged with stealing $140,000 from unemployment insurance funds | USAO-EDMO

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