A Florida man admitted Wednesday that he bilked more than $1.2 million in unemployment benefits from the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
Arnold H. Thomas, 47, of Fernandina Beach, also pleaded guilty to federal charges of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.
U.S. Attorney Donald J. Cazayoux Jr. said in a written statement that Thomas’ convictions carry combined penalties that range to a prison term of as many as 22 years.
Thomas’ indictment alleges he used fictional wage reports of imaginary companies, combined with the Social Security numbers of unsuspecting people, to steal more than $1.2 million from the Louisiana Workforce Commission between September 2005 and May 2010.
Curt Eysink, executive director of the commission, said his staff discovered the thefts and turned them over to federal investigators with the U.S. Department of Labor.
“I’m very happy that he (Thomas) has pleaded guilty,” Eysink said. He said his staff now will work with federal investigators in an effort to maximize recovery of stolen funds from Thomas.
Cazayoux added that the Social Security Administration also participated in the investigation.
Chief U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson will sentence Thomas after investigators of the U.S. Probation Office complete a report on the Florida man and make a recommendation regarding Thomas’ penalties.