Former Health and Human Services employee, three others sentenced in benefits fraud case
From press release
Winnebago County State’s Attorney Joe Bruscato announced that the Judge John Truitt sentenced Alondra Luna, 31, and Carlos Luna, 23, and Sharon Nunez, 51, and Michael Luna, 34, to serve 180 days in the Winnebago County Jail and 30 months probation and to pay $27,000 in restitution.
In November 2010, investigators with the Division of Internal Investigation were looking into the cases of an employee of the Department of Health and Human Services (DHS) after having been alerted to a discrepancy with a file. Sharon L. Nunez was an office administrator with DHS. To open an account with DHS, a person goes through an intake interview to determine eligibility. A file is created for eligible people and a caseworker then gets the case and oversees it from that point forward, authorizing the disbursement of state benefits.
Investigators learned Sharon Nunez had created a number of falsified cases using false Social Security numbers, dates of birth and addresses, and without the required intake interview process. At least eight names in Nunez’s caseload, including Nunez herself using her maiden name, have been identified as having received benefits without authority between Sept. 1, 2010 and Dec. 1, 2010, with the total amount of unauthorized benefits exceeding $27,000.
Three of the people identified as having received unauthorized benefits through Nunez are her children, Carlos J. Luna, Michael C. Luna, and Alondra L. Luna. The Lunas have been located on video using LINK cards issued from DHS without the proper authority. These events occurred in Winnebago County.
State Benefits Fraud is a Class 3 Felony with a penalty range of two to five years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.
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