Missouri Unemployment Worker Gave Free Money to Friends, Feds Say

A federal indictment says Vicky Hefner sent benefits to her friends and family

click to enlarge The Wainwright State Office Building in St. Louis.
The Wainwright State Office Building in St. Louis.

An employee with the Missouri’s Department of Labor and Industrial Relations has been federally indicted for allegedly using her position in state government to send a little more than $140,000 in unearned unemployment benefits to friends and relatives.

Federal prosecutors indicted Vicky Hefner, 63, of Jefferson County, on three charges of theft of public money. She pleaded not guilty last week.

According to the indictment, Hefner began as a benefit program specialist with the agency's Division of Employment Security in 2009.

Between July and December of 2020, Hefner is accused of logging into the accounts of approximately eight people who were her "friends, relatives, and associates," according to the indictment. She then allegedly used her credentials to increase their unemployment benefits or to fraudulently make eligible for benefits people who would otherwise not meet the criteria of eligibility.

The indictment also states that Hefner directed unemployment benefits to people who were employed.

The friends and relatives of Hefner then gave her kickbacks, according to the indictment.

Hefner worked both from her home and from an office in the city of St. Louis.

Hefner faces up to 10 years in prison as well as a $250,000 fine one each of the three charges. If found guilty, she will also have to repay the money.

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Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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