Unemployment worker from Troy, Detroit man charged in scheme to steal benefits

Autumn Mims, William Haynes facing charges

Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.

TROY, Mich. – A Troy woman, who worked with Michigan’s Unemployment Insurance Agency, and a Detroit man have been charged for running a scheme to steal unemployment benefits, authorities said.

Autumn Mims, 29, of Troy, starting working for the Michigan UIA as an insurance examiner, officials said. Her job was to review, process, and verify the legitimacy of unemployment insurance claims.

Shortly after she started the job, Mims began using her insider access to fraudulently process claims in the names of third parties without their knowledge or permission, according to authorities.

Mims worked with William Haynes, 25, of Detroit, to cause unauthorized bank accounts to be opened in the names of third parties, officials said. They caused unemployment insurance claim payments to be issued to those accounts, and then they took control of those funds for their own benefit, federal officials said.

Police said they found “significant evidence of fraud” while executing a search warrant at Mims’ home.

“Those who commit unemployment insurance fraud not only steal from honest taxpayers, but they also make it more difficult for legitimate claimants to receive the assistance to which they are entitled,” United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison said. “We will continue to work tirelessly to fight unemployment abuse and fraud.”

Mims and Haynes were charged Tuesday (April 26) with conspiring to commit wire fraud, six counts of wire fraud, and three counts of aggravated identity theft.

Mims is also charged with illicitly possessing 15 or more unauthorized access devices.

“These defendants conspired to use Mims’ official position to take money meant for people who were unemployed during the pandemic,” said James A. Tarasca, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Detroit division. “That money was vital to many of our community members who were suffering pandemic-related economic challenges.”

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Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.