Unemployment fraud, two South Carolina women face charges

CHARLESTON, S.C. – Two South Caroline women are facing charges after being discovered for unemployment fraud.

Both Charleston and St. Matthews women are accused of committing financial identity fraud in order to receive unemployment benefits.

The investigation took place after a woman wanted to apply for financial benefits and discovered her name was already used in the system.

Melissa Rufus, 39, of Charleston, was arrested on Jan. 26 by the North Charleston Police Department and has been charged with two counts of financial identity fraud, according to South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce spokesperson Heather Biance.

Rufus later said she bought the ID information online and used them to file application for unemployment financial benefits.

In a separate case, the second woman is charged and facing six counts of financial identity fraud charges. The 23-year-old from St. Matthews called Sarah Elizabeth Gates, admitted to assisting her alleged victim in setting up an electronic deposit for her unemployment claim and later changing the bank information to Gates’s personal bank account.

Other similar cases are under investigation, authorities confirm.

Cindy Carey


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