Juneau woman sentenced in unemployment fraud

A Juneau woman convicted of unemployment fraud will have to pay restitution of $15,000.

According to an Alaska Department of Labor news release, Naomi Weitzel, 42, pleaded guilty in July to felony theft of the unemployment benefits.

Patsy Westcott works for the Department of Labor with the unemployment insurance program.

“We strive every day first of all to protect the integrity of the trust fund, to identify mispayements, not all of which are the result of fraud,” Westcott said. “But when we do find fraud certainly we vigorously detect and recover overpayments.”

Westcott said the benefits amounted to about $10,000 over-paid to Weitzel in 2017. The Department of Labor assessed a 50 percent penalty due to the fraud.

A Superior Court judge handed down a 12-month suspended sentence, 65 hours of community service, and Weitzel will be on probation for three years.

Her attorney declined to comment.

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