South Carolina Attorney General Alan Wilson and the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (DEW) announced that a Lancaster County woman entered a guilty plea to unemployment insurance fraud this week.
Barbara Cousar, 58, pleaded guilty to one count of making a false statement or misrepresentation with the intent to defraud DEW, a misdemeanor punishable by up to three years in prison. Cousar received unemployment benefits based on her weekly certifications that she was totally unemployed and earning no wages.
An investigation by DEW found she had in fact been gainfully employed during these weeks and intentionally falsified information about her employment and weekly wage earnings. Cousar was sentenced to three years in prison which was suspended. She was placed on probation for five years.
While on probation, Cousar must repay DEW approximately $16,000 in restitution. In addition, Cousar was ordered to pay a $1,500 civil penalty to the state. The case was investigated by DEW and prosecuted by the Attorney General’s Office.
To report suspected unemployment insurance fraud, call 1-800-868-1488. Callers can remain anonymous. To learn tips on how to help prevent unemployment fraud, visit dew.sc.gov/fraud.