A Columbia woman has been arrested on charges of defrauding the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce by obtaining fraudulent pandemic unemployment assistance benefits.
Jennifer Roberts, 38, of Columbia, turned herself in and was arrested on May 31. She is charged with obtaining a signature or property under pretenses of $10,000 or more, according to a news release.
The case started in October 2022 when DEW requested the Richland County Sheriff’s Department to investigate possible pretenses and forgery, the release said. The investigation revealed that Roberts obtained about $60,000 in illicit funds after she used falsified documents and affirmations to claim she was unemployed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and was qualified to receive the funds. Roberts eventually confessed to the entire scheme, according to the release.
“The Department of Employment and Workforce is committed to ensuring the integrity of South Carolina’s unemployment insurance program by providing benefits only to workers who lose their job through no fault of their own,” said William Floyd, executive director of DEW. “We take our responsibility to protect our claimants seriously and do not tolerate those who defraud the unemployment system and unlawfully obtain funds.
Information on how to report claimant and employer fraud to DEW can be found online.