A Whitehall woman pleaded guilty Friday to using 50 stolen identities to file for unemployment in eight states.
Audrey Costar, 46, of Whitehall, Ohio pleaded guilty to using the stolen identities to file for unemployment benefits over three years, netting her almost $80,000.
According to court documents, Costar used 50 stolen identities to electronically file false unemployment insurance claims in Alaska, Minnesota, Montana, Arizona, Utah, Ohio, Colorado and Pennsylvania between February 2009 and December 2012. She collected approximate $78,674 using the scheme.
Costar was also collecting Social Security benefits in her own name at the time. Earnings made through the identity theft scheme were not reported to the Social Security Administration which resulted in her receiving approximately $7,906.78 in benefits to which she was not entitled.
Costar pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government funds, each punishable by up to ten years in prison, and two counts of aggravated identity theft. Each count of aggravated identity theft is punishable by a mandatory two-year sentence to be served consecutive to any other time served.
The court will conduct a pre-sentence investigation before determining the sentence and schedule a date for sentencing.