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Feds: Maywood woman stole $315K in unemployment benefits

Sun-Times file photo

A former west suburban tax preparer has been sentenced to four years in prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $315,000 in unemployment benefits.

Leticia Williams-English, 52, of Maywood pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud in April, according to a statement from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Williams-English admitted she filed more than 60 fraudulent claims for unemployment insurance, using the identities of various individuals who knew nothing about the scheme and did not know her, according to federal prosecutors. She obtained much of the victims’ identifying information through her employment at a tax preparation service.

Williams-English fraudulently netted about $315,393 in unemployment benefits, according to prosecutors.

“When a defendant engages in a scheme to defraud a government benefits program, it delegitimizes that program, the beneficiaries and the authentic need for the benefits provided by the program,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Sheri Mecklenburg wrote in the government’s sentencing memorandum.

“Such a crime steals funds from a worthy program, but it also chips away at the integrity of a program meant to help people who need it,” Mecklenburg said.

Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan sentenced Williams-English to four years in prison Wednesday, according to prosecutors. She was also ordered to pay $315,393 in restitution.