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updated: 3/14/2014 7:37 AM

9 charged with defrauding $200,000 in Illinois benefits

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Associated Press

Nine Illinois residents are facing charges of collecting thousands of dollars in fraudulent unemployment benefits.

Attorney General Lisa Madigan and the Illinois Department of Employment Security announced the charges Thursday.

Madigan says the defendants received unemployment benefits while collecting a paycheck. She says prosecuting these cases maintains resources for those who need it most.

The defendants allegedly defrauded a combined $200,000 in benefits between 2009 and 2012. One defendant is said to have been incarcerated while receiving unemployment benefits.

The defendants are charged in Cook, Kane, McHenry, and Winnebago counties. They face felony theft, state benefits fraud, and wire fraud charges.

Officials say the vast majority of workers follow the rules and shouldn't be "muddied" by those who cheat. They say those hurt most are people honestly searching for work.

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