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South Texas News

Edinburg Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Unemployment Insurance Scheme

A 41-year-old Edinburg man, Jose Luis Gonzalez, has been sentenced to 74 months (6+ years) in federal prison and ordered to pay $531,161 in restitution after leading a decade-long unemployment insurance (UI) scheme. The sentencing was announced by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Texas.

In August 2008, Gonzalez began filing fraudulent unemployment claims with the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC). Posing as an employer, he verified his own fraudulent claims. Gonzalez also promoted his scheme on social media and recruited others to join.

The TWC’s Office of Investigations, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), U.S. Postal Inspectors of McAllen, Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Department, and the Hidalgo Police Department, conducted a thorough investigation. The DOL and OIG conducted an undercover purchase of a UI claim from Gonzalez, leading to a raid on his residence.

“I applaud the thorough work of TWC staff and the multiple law enforcement agencies involved in bringing this case to justice,” said TWC Executive Director Ed Serna. “TWC is constantly working on new measures to help detect, prevent, and reduce fraud and this case highlights the success of those efforts.”

The scheme involved 104 UI claims for 79 unique Social Security Numbers, including seven claims Gonzalez filed for himself. Gonzalez and nine co-conspirators have pleaded guilty and were sentenced by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas, McAllen Division.

TWC continues to use all tools at its disposal to identify and shut down fraudulent unemployment claims quickly, working closely with law enforcement and prosecutors to bring offenders to justice and recover stolen funds.

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