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Alabama Department of Labor Obtaining Convictions for Unemployment Compensation Fraud

December 15, 2017

Press Releases

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 14, 2017

Alabama Department of Labor Obtaining Convictions for Unemployment Compensation Fraud
MONTGOMERY – Alabama Department of Labor Secretary Fitzgerald Washington announced today that the Department has successfully prosecuted several Alabamians for unemployment compensation fraud. The following individuals were charged with a misdemeanor violation of the Alabama Unemployment Compensation Law by making false statements in claims for benefits:

• Sylvia D. Thornton, of Dothan, was tried in Henry County District Court on November 27, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Thornton received a total of $11,019 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Thornton pled guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended, and given two years of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Sarah D. Cole, of Tuscaloosa, was tried in Tuscaloosa County Circuit Court on November 28, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Cole received a total of $2,013 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Cole pled guilty and was sentenced to five years in jail, which was suspended, and placed on one year of supervised probation, to be followed by four years of unsupervised probation. She was ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

The following individual was charged with Theft of Property, Third Degree:

• Marion Pride, of Huntsville, was tried in Madison County Circuit Court on August 24, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Pride received a total of $5,361 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Pride pled guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended for two years, and two years of unsupervised probation. She was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

The following individuals were charged with Theft of Property, 4th Degree:

• William J. Jackson, of Florence, was tried in Lauderdale County Circuit Court on November 27, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Jackson received a total of $3,047 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Jackson pled guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended for two years. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Hal D. Pinchon, of Huntsville, was tried in Madison County Circuit Court on October 26, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Pinchon received a total of $2,931 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Pinchon pled guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended for two years, and given two years of unsupervised probation. He was also ordered to pay a victim’s assessment fee, court costs, and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Herman Rogers, of Huntsville, was tried in Madison County Circuit Court on October 30, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Rogers received a total of $1,053 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Rogers pled guilty and was sentenced to one year in jail, which was suspended for two years, and given two years of probation. He was also ordered to pay court costs and restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

The following individuals were charged with Theft by Deception, 1st Degree:

• Bobby Bradford, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 29, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Bradford received a total of $5,706 in benefits to which he was not entitled.

Bradford pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended for two years, and given three years of supervised probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.

• Judy M. Whitehead, of Gadsden, was tried in Etowah County Circuit Court on November 27, 2017. An investigation by Labor’s Benefit Payment Control Section determined that Whitehead received a total of $6,361 in benefits to which she was not entitled.

Whitehead pled guilty and was sentenced to two years in jail, which was suspended for two years, and given three years of supervised probation. She was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of benefits received illegally.


“Unemployment compensation benefits can serve as a lifeline to those who truly need them,” said Washington. “However, we want to send a message to those who would knowingly defraud the system in order to obtain benefits they aren’t entitled to: This is a crime and you will be prosecuted.”

“Our investigators are continuously working with local District Attorney Offices in order to identify and prosecute those individuals who are committing these crimes. I would also like to remind employers that their timely reporting of new hires is one of the best tools we have to prevent unemployment fraud.”

Suspected unemployment compensation fraud may be reported to the Alabama Department of Labor by calling 1-800-392-8019.

Employers may find more information regarding reporting new hires at http://www.labor.alabama.gov/nh.
The Alabama Department of Labor / The Alabama Career Center System is a partner in Alabama Works, Alabama’s unified workforce system.

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Members of the media needing more information should contact Tara Hutchison at 334-242-8616 / tara.hutchison@labor.alabama.gov


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