71-year-old Mississippi woman faces 10 years in prison after pleading guilty to unemployment fraud

Published 5:19 am Tuesday, August 24, 2021

A 71-year-old Mississippi woman faces up to 10 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to unemployment insurance benefits fraud.

Friday, acting U.S. Attorney Darren LaMarca and U.S. Secret Service Agent Shawn Wolfe said Judith Ann Middleton, of Ridgeland, pleaded guilty to theft of government funds involving unemployment insurance benefits fraud.

She is slated to be sentenced on Nov. 18 and faces a maximum penalty of 10 years in prison.

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According to court documents, in May 2020, federal officials discovered that unemployment benefits from the state of Washington had been deposited into Middleton’s bank account. Investigations into those benefits revealed they were deposited under other individuals’ names. The funds were subsidized through the federal CARES Act, which was passed in response to COVID-19.

The U.S. Secret Service investigated the case.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Meghan M. McCalla and William Dieters prosecuted the case.

This case is being prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s National Unemployment Insurance Fraud Task Force (NUIFTF).

Anyone with information about attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866‑720‑5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.