08/03/12 Matthew Van Galen, 49, of Elkhart pleaded guilty Tuesday, July 10, in Elkhart County Superior Court II to unemployment insurance fraud, a Class D felony. Van Galen purposefully defrauded the system by collecting unemployment insurance benefits while working full-time.

The investigation began when the Department of Workforce Development (DWD) targeted Van Galen because he was working and receiving wages while claiming unemployment insurance benefits. Using agency records and information from Van Galen’s employer, DWD investigated and was able to verify he worked full-time while collecting benefits.

“DWD works diligently to ensure only those who are truly eligible receive benefits and we rely on Hoosier employers to help us root out fraud.” said Scott B. Sanders, Commissioner of the Department of Workforce Development. “Mr. Van Galen’s case is a perfect example of how businesses help us protect their tax dollars and punish those who take advantage of the system,”

Van Galen was sentenced to 2 years and 6 months on probation, but will serve the entire term in prison if he violates the terms of his probation. He was also ordered to repay DWD $26,846 for the benefits he fraudulently collected.

Each month, DWD sends employers a notice documenting their charges for former employees’ unemployment insurance benefits. This provides the employer an opportunity to dispute the claim for unemployment insurance benefits.

You can help combat unemployment insurance fraud and abuse by reporting it online at www.in.gov/dwd/fraud. Your efforts will help ensure tax dollars are spent wisely and unemployment insurance benefits are only paid to people who are eligible to receive them. You do not need to provide your name or any other identifying information when filling out the report.