A Twin Falls man was ordered to serve at least six month in jail on Friday after admitting he took nearly $7,000 in unemployment benefits while he was still working.
Richard Henry Ratliff, 45, was sentenced by 5th District Judge Randy Stoker to serve at least six months in the prison on the so-called rider program, which focuses on rehabilitation. But if Ratliff fails to complete the program, he faces a minimum 10 years in prison.
Stoker also ordered Ratliff to report all “off-the-clock” wages he has been paid to the Idaho Tax Commission and the Internal Revenue Service for assessment of state and federal income taxes.
Ratliff was working as a mechanic in the Twin Falls area but claimed to be unemployed with no earnings between mid-August and mid-December 2010. He collected almost $7,000 in unemployment benefits during that time while he earned over $9,200 at his job.
The Idaho Department of Labor discovered the fraud during its routine cross-matching of worker Social Security numbers in the wage reports filed every quarter by all Idaho employers with the unemployment benefit payments made to workers.
Primarily through past wage garnishments, the department has recovered just over $1,900 from Ratliff, who still must repay nearly $6,700 in overpaid benefits and penalties.