Nine area residents are charged with fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits -- including one man who received the payments while he was serving time in prison.
Most of the "defendants received unemployment benefits while they were simultaneously collecting a paycheck," Attorney General Madigan said in a statement announcing the charges.
"Prosecuting these cases deters fraud and maintains the resources of the unemployment insurance program to help those people it is intended assist—the unemployed."
The fraudulent claims spanned from 2009-12, and in each case, the defendant falsely verified being unemployed through the Illinois Department of Employment Security's telephone or online systems, authorities claim.
Prosecutors allege they were actually employed or incarcerated, and should not have received any benefits or the level of benefits they claimed, the statement said.
Prosecutors charged eight defendants in Cook, Kane, McHenry and Winnebago counties, alleging:
— Leon Allen, 56, of Chicago, collected more than $33,000 in fraudulent benefits;
— David Bailey, 47, of Chicago, collected more than $30,000;
— Stephanie Burrage, 46, of Chicago, collected more than $24,000;
— Sonya Franklin, 30, of Chicago, collected more than $22,000;
— Lawrence Howard, 34, who was incarcerated at Pontiac Correctional Center at the time he, collected more than $17,000 in fraudulent benefits; his accomplice in the matter, Georgina Jackson, 30, of Chicago, has also been charged;
— Marvin Ross, 29, of Chicago, collected more than $22,000;
— Edward Sitko, 43, of Wonder Lake, collected more than $20,000;
— Margaret Smith, 49, of Rockford, collected more than $18,000; and
— Moira Wolf, 50, of South Elgin, collected more than $20,000.
Each faces charges of felony theft, state benefits fraud and wire fraud, the statement said.