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Woman admits to collecting unemployment payments while employed

Naomi Weitzel of Juneau sentenced to pay restitution, do community service

A Juneau resident was court-ordered to complete community service and pay restitution after pleading guilty to fraudulently collecting unemployment insurance benefits, according to a release from the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

Naomi Faith Weitzel, 42, pleaded guilty July 31 to second-degree theft as part of a plea agreement, according to the release. Weitzel was employed at the time she was collecting unemployment benefits, the release states, and Juneau District Court Judge Keith Levy ordered that she pay $15,048 in restitution.

Levy sentenced Weitzel to 12 months in prison, but suspended the sentence and ordered her to complete 65 hours of community service. She will also be on probation for three years.

“The unemployment insurance system helps stabilize Alaskans who face the serious challenges of unemployment,” Alaska Labor Commissioner Heidi Drygas said in the release. “The small minority of individuals who intentionally misrepresent their benefit claims are committing a crime, and the department vigorously investigates abuses of the system.”

An investigation by the department’s Unemployment Insurance Investigations Unit led to the conviction, according to the release. The unit is responsible for investigating, detecting and recovering improper unemployment benefits.

Charges were first filed in February, according to electronic court records, and the fraud took place in 2017.

Second-degree theft is a class C felony, and covers thefts of between $750 and $24,999, according to electronic court records. The Department of Justice’s Office of Special Prosecutions prosecuted the case.

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