8 indicted for stealing unemployment benefits in New Jersey

TRENTON (WABC) -- Eight people from New Jersey have been indicted for allegedly stealing $100,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while they were in county jails and ineligible to receive them.

The defendants include five former inmates and three spouses of the inmates.

Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman says the inmates, most of whom were serving jail terms for driving while intoxicated, collected amounts ranging from $12,000 to more than $28,000. The spouses allegedly assisted the inmates in the fraud.

Each defendant is charged with third-degree theft by deception, which carries a potential sentence of three to five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000 upon conviction.

The thefts alleged in the case unfolded at a time when the state's unemployment insurance trust fund was under heavy financial pressure. It became insolvent in 2009, after two decades of administrative diversions from the fund were followed by a severe recession that forced massive benefit payments.

Those indicted have been identified as Kurt Ohlson, 52, of Sweetwater, and his ex-wife, Donna Ohlson, 48, of Mays Landing; Edward T. Soto, 34, and his wife, Jessica M. Soto, 32, of Bayville; Theodore Campbell, 59, and Diana Campbell, 57, of Beachwood; Nado Shaw, 34, of Southampton; and Russell Garrett, 35, of Cinnaminson.

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