(KMOV) -- Three Metro-East women are being forced to repay the thousands they admit they stole in unemployment fraud.
Roda Jefferies, 40, of Belleville, Lula Gooden, 48, of East St. Louis and Yvette Rutherford, 45, of Belleville all were given probation and an order to make restitution on over $65,000.
US Attorney Stephen Wigginton says the woman lied to Illinois unemployment officials, by collecting benefits while working jobs.
The three were part of a wide sweep of unemployment fraud offenders caught last year in Illinois.
“The whole system like most of our programs depends on trust and in this case it’s one American citizen who is stealing from their fellow American citizen,” says Wigginton.
Unemployment benefit fraud is estimated to cost close to $700 million nationwide.