Suburban residents charged in unemployment scams

Daily Herald report
Updated 1/23/2013 3:44 PM

In separate indictments, 32 Chicago area residents have been charged with fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits that total almost $874,000.

Federal prosecutors accuse the individuals, including several from the suburbs, of either falsely claiming to be unemployed or underreporting their income to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. The fraudulently obtained benefits range from $19,399 to as much as $38,798, prosecutors said.

Some of those charged have already pleaded guilty and received sentences, prosecutors noted.

The benefits in Illinois are largely paid by local employers with the federal government also providing some funding, federal authorities said.

Among the suburban residents charged are Manusya Heinrichs, 44, of Buffalo Grove; Jamie Masterson, 26, of Carpentersville; Steven Steinberg, 61, of Buffalo Grove; and Mark Vandenbark, 38, of Naperville.

Masterson is the only one of the four facing felony charges punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000 for allegedly collecting $27,049 illegally, prosecutors said. Steinberg has already pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor, paid full restitution of the $19,680 he was accused of fraudulently obtaining and was sentenced to a year's probation.

Heinrichs is accused of receiving $27,950 unlawfully and Vandenbark is accused of unlawfully collecting $19,399. Both were charged with misdemeanors, punishable by up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine.

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