Andrea Mims and Lea Ann Battles Convicted on Mail Fraud Arising From A Scheme to Defraud the Unemployment Insurance Program

September 7, 2011

U.S. Attorney’s Office Southern District of Texas on September 7, 2011 released the following:

“Cuervo Women Plead Guilty in Unemployment Insurance Fraud Ring

VICTORIA, Texas – Andrea Mims, 48, and Lea Ann Battles, 44, both of Cuero, Texas, have been convicted of mail fraud arising from a scheme to defraud the Unemployment Insurance Program, United States Attorney José Angel Moreno announced today.

At a hearing before Senior United States District Judge John D. Rainey, Mims and Battles 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 individuals. As a result of these fraudulent claims, debit cards were sent through the United States Mail to addresses controlled by Mims and Battles. Between October 2009 and June 2011, approximately $96,222 in unemployment insurance benefits were paid to Mims and Battles as a result of the fraudulent unemployment insurance claims. Additional fraudulent claims filed by Mims in her own name resulted in another $14,178 in fraudulent unemployment insurance benefit payments to Mims.

Mims’ husband, Frederick Mims, pleaded guilty to mail fraud in a related unemployment insurance fraud scheme on Aug. 1, 2011, and is in custody awaiting sentencing.

Both Andrea Mims and Battles face up to 20 years imprisonment, a fine of up to $250,000 and up to three years of supervised release at their sentencing hearing, set for Dec. 5, 2011. As part of their plea agreements both will be required to pay full restitution.

Andrea Mims and Battles will remain in the custody of the U.S. Marshals Service pending their sentencing hearings.

The case was investigated by agents from the United States Department of Labor, the United States Postal Inspection Service and the Texas Workforce Commission. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert D. Thorpe Jr. ”

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