Labor and Economic Opportunity
Florida residents caught after stealing unemployment benefits
Contact: Chris DeWitt
LANSING, MI - April 16, 2018 — Wanda M. Stokes, Director, Talent Investment Agency commented today on the sentencing of two individuals for identity theft used to illegally obtain unemployment benefits.
On October 31, 2017, Wickenbert Clacema, 37, and Tamara St. Hilaire, 33, both of Pembroke Pines, Florida, were charged with illegally using social security numbers issued to other persons, and debit card account numbers issued in the names of other persons, to obtain unemployment benefits from the Michigan Unemployment Agency.
“Identity theft can lead to significant time in prison,” Stokes said. “These two cases show that Michigan will not tolerate stealing unemployment insurance funds.
Clacema, after pleading guilty to “Conspiracy to commit access device fraud” and “Aggravated identity theft," was sentenced on April 3, 2018 by United States District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., to 40 months in prison.
St. Hillaire, after pleading guilty to “Aggravated identity theft," was sentenced on April 6, 2018 by United States District Judge Robert N. Scola, Jr., to 24 months in prison.
As part of the sentences, the Defendants are required to pay restitution of $162,611.72.
“When criminals steal the identities of Michigan residents and use those to illegally receive unemployment insurance benefits, there are consequences, and we’ll pursue those criminals in every instance,” Stokes added. “Thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida, and our Investigations Division within the Unemployment Insurance Agency, these criminals were caught and convicted.“