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Twin Falls Man Admits Fraudulently Obtaining Unemployment Benefits
A Twin Falls man has pleaded guilty to five counts of fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits and faces up to five years in prison on each count when he is sentenced this fall.
Richard H. Ratliff, 45, admitted to obtaining almost $7,000 in benefits over a period of 18 weeks in the fall of 2010, after lying about the fact that he was earning more than $9,200 while working as an equipment operator for a local commodity hauler during the same time period.
Fifth District Judge Randy Stoker set the sentencing for October 18. As well as the possible prison time Ratliff faces, he could be fined up to $50,000 per count.
The Idaho Department of Labor has already used wage garnishment to recover over $1,600 Ratliff owed in penalties and $540 of the benefits. Ratliff will not be eligible for unemployment benefits in the future until the remaining $6,400 in benefits is recovered.
Ratliff originally told a fraud investigator from the Idaho Department of Labor that he did not think he had to report his wages or job at the trucking company. He then admitted that he was trying to make up for the decrease in income he experienced when he moved from a $20 an hour job to the $12 an hour job at the trucking company.
Idaho state law allows a person to continue to collect unemployment benefits while working part time, as long as the claimant makes less than 150 percent of the weekly benefit. A claimant can also get the whole benefit amount if they make half of the weekly benefit or less.