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East St. Louis woman sentenced to prison, ordered to pay restitution for unemployment fraud scheme

By Matt Woods

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    EAST ST. LOUIS (KMOV) — An East St. Louis woman was sentenced to more than three years in prison and ordered to pay back more than $800,000 in restitution for using stolen identities to receive unemployment funds.

Talfanita M. Cobb, 51, pleaded guilty to three counts of mail fraud, conspiracy to commit mail fraud, and aggravated identity theft. She applied for unemployment insurance benefits in Arizona, Ohio, and Texas in 2020 and 2021. Her East St. Louis address was listed on the applications, and she got debit cards sent to her with unemployment benefits.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Southern District of Illinois said Cobb used ATMs in St. Clair County to withdraw the unemployment funds. Cobb has been ordered to pay back $862,625 for the scam. Almost $800,000 of it was ordered to be repaid to the Arizona Department of Employment Security, as well as $54,000 to the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services and $18,000 to the Texas Workforce Commission.

Cobb was sentenced to a total of 44 months in prison.

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