Lear employees convicted of unemployment insurance fraud

August 11, 2005, 5:39 AM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (AP) — Eleven Lear Corp. workers have been found guilty of unemployment insurance fraud for collecting more than $100,000 in benefits that they were not entitled to, the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency said Wednesday.

Twenty-nine other workers face administrative action from the agency for illegally collecting $70,000, The Detroit News reported in a Thursday story.

All 40 workers worked in the Grand Rapids area and collected unemployment benefits while working full time, agency director Sharon Bommarito said in a prepared statement.

The 11 employees prosecuted were found guilty of improperly collecting $5,000 or more each, in amounts ranging from $5,405 to $16,523. They must repay the benefits, perform community service and pay fines and court costs.

The 29 other cases involved amounts ranging from $181 to $4,433. Those workers also will be required to repay the money and could face administrative fines.

The fraud started after Lear began periodic layoffs in January and July 2002 and some workers filed for unemployment benefits. Bommarito said those charged claimed benefits even after they were back to work.

Southfield-based Lear is a top supplier of automotive interiors.