14 accused of defrauding unemployment system

CHAMPAIGN -- A statewide investigation found 14 people allegedly involved in unemployment fraud. Together, they stole more than $400,000.

Police say 38-year old Bobby Crowe, of Urbana, was one of them. He's accused of stealing nearly $40,000 in just the past couple of years. The investigation showed Crowe was collecting thousands in unemployment while collecting a paycheck.

The State's Attorney General and the Illinois Department of Employment Security started the investigation last year. Now, they're announcing their first set of arrests.

Most of the suspects arrested collected the benefits through the IDES phone line or online system. A manager at Manpower, which helps the unemployed daily, says when this happens, it makes people cynical of the system.

All defendants face charges of theft plus state benefit and wire fraud. The charges are Class 1 and 3 felonies. Each person faces up to 20-years in prison.

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