Two Cuero women plead guilty to mail fraud

Sept. 9, 2011 at 4:09 a.m.

Two Cuero women pleaded guilty in federal court on Thursday to mail fraud charges.

At a federal court hearing before Senior United States District Judge John D. Rainey, Andrea Mims, 48, and Lea Ann Battles, 44, admitted to filing numerous fraudulent unemployment insurance claims.

All of the claims named fictitious employers and were filed using the names and Social Security numbers of other people, according to a U.S. Attorney's Office news release.

As a result of the claims, debit cards were sent through the mail to Mims and Battles.

Between October 2009 and June, about $96,222 in unemployment insurance benefits were paid to the women as a result of the scheme, according to the news release.

Mims also filed additional fake claims, totaling $14,178 in payments.

Mims' husband, Frederick Mims, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a related unemployment insurance fraud scheme on Aug. 1 and is in custody awaiting sentencing.

Both Andrea Mims and Battles face up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of federal probation.

The sentencing hearing is Dec. 5.

As part of their plea agreements, both will be required to pay full restitution.

The two women will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending the sentencing hearings.

The case was investigated by agents from the United States Department of Labor, the United States Postal Inspection Service, the Texas Workforce Commission and the Cuero Police Department.

Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe prosecuted the case.



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