DEBARY MAN CHARGED WITH UNEMPLOYMENT COMPENSATION FRAUD
A DeBary resident and former payroll manager is facing accusations that he used a co-worker’s personal information to fraudulently collect unemployment benefits for more than a year. The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office wrapped up the criminal investigation this week, resulting in the filing of charges against 48-year-old Dean Robertson for scheme to defraud, grand theft and fraudulent use of personal identification information. Robertson turned himself in Tuesday afternoon to Sheriff’s investigators in DeBary and has been taken to the Volusia County Branch Jail in Daytona Beach.
The fraud first came to light when a 28-year-old Kissimmee man filed for state unemployment benefits after losing his job. The state informed the man that an unemployment claim already had been filed in his name, and the recipient had been collecting money for approximately 16 months. The victim filed a complaint with the Osceola County Sheriff’s Office, and sheriff’s investigators in Volusia were later brought in back in April when it was discovered that the fraudulently-obtained benefits were being disbursed to someone in DeBary. As it turned out, the victim and Robertson both used to work for a sheet metal company in Apopka. And that’s where Robertson got the victim’s personal information. The company confirmed that they had terminated Robertson’s employment in October 2008. Two months later, Robertson started receiving $600 unemployment checks from the state every two weeks pursuant to a phony claim filed under the victim’s name. According to an investigator in the state’s Unemployment Compensation Fraud Recovery Unit, the checks continued through last month. In total, Robertson is accused of collecting $20,700 in fraudulent unemployment benefits. At the same time, Robertson also was collecting unemployment benefits for a claim he filed under his own name. He continued collecting the payments even after he got another job.
On May 12, it was agreed that the Sheriff’s Office would take over the investigation since the crimes occurred in Volusia County and the suspect lived in DeBary. One of Sheriff’s investigator Chuck Lee’s first acts was to get a court order freezing all of Robertson’s bank accounts. On Friday, after investigator Lee confronted him with the evidence in the case, Robertson confessed to the crimes and said he was using the money to support his household. On Tuesday investigator Lee brought the case to Circuit Court Judge James R. Clayton, who issued a warrant for Robertson’s arrest. Robertson will be held on $15,000 bond.