Five former jail inmates and three of their wives stand accused of stealing about $100,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while the men were serving county jail terms in New Jersey and ineligible to receive the benefits.Acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman announced the charges against the eight defendants Tuesday. They were named in indictments that have been handed up in recent weeks.
Officials said the inmates, most of whom were serving jail terms for drunken driving, collected amounts ranging from $12,000 to more than $28,000. If convicted, all the defendants face up to five years in prison.
The charges come a year after an audit by the state comptroller’s office found inmates had collected $23.6 million in unemployment, Medicaid, food stamps, and other assistance payments they were ineligible to receive.