Georgia State Capitol

Eight former state workers have been charged with unemployment insurance fraud

ATLANTA – Eight former state employees have been indicted on charges of unemployment insurance fraud allegedly committed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The indictments, handed up last week in Fulton County, accuse the eight defendants of filing false unemployment claims with the Georgia Department of Labor while they were working for the state.

“Government employees are entrusted to operate honestly and ethically, and those who do not will be held accountable,” Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr said Thursday. “We will not hesitate to pursue any individual who works for our state and seeks to illegally obtain public funds for their own personal gain.”

The indictments charge James Neville with 19 counts of making false statements and writings, and accuse La-Kira Williams of 14 counts of false statements and writings. The two also are charged with two counts each of violating the state employment security law.

Denise Vance, Divincia Richardson, and Willie Jones are charged with 10 counts each of false statements and writings. Vance is charged with two counts of violating the employment security law, while Richardson and Jones are charged with one count.

Tamika Goodwin is accused of eight counts of false statements and writings. Curesha Blair is charged with five counts of false statements and writings, and Regina Sterling faces three counts of that same offense.

The indictments followed an investigation by the Georgia Office of Inspector General, working with the state labor department and the U.S. Department of Labor.

The attorney general’s Public Integrity and White Collar Crime Unit presented evidence in the case to a Fulton County grand jury, resulting in the indictment.

This story comes to GPB through a reporting partnership with Capitol Beat News Service.