By Rachel Dove
LOGAN - Workforce for West Virginia has filed criminal charges against three individuals of obtaining unemployment benefits under fraudulent means, all of them from Mingo County.
Lisa Bragg, of the Logan office of Workforce for West Virginia, recently filed a number of misdemeanor charges against Nick Runyon Jr., 35, of Naugatuck; Landen Baisden III, 41, of Dingess; and Easu J. Canterbury, 26, of Lenore. Runyon and Canterbury were charged with failure to report earnings, while Baisden allegedly failed to disclose a material fact to obtain or to increase a benefit.
According to the criminal complaints and the arrest warrants issued by Mingo County magistrates, Canterbury was taken into custody on five counts of failing to report earnings that allegedly occurred between the dates of May 12 and June 30, 2012. The benefits that the defendant received that he was not legally owed allegedly total $7,632. The complaint states that Canterbury failed to report that he was employed by Regional Mine Service during this time and was receiving a paycheck from them, as well as his unemployment.
Runyon was arrested on five counts of failure to report earnings between the dates of June 15 and July 6, 2013, for a grand total of $2,158. According to the complaint, Runyon was employed by Falcon Enterprises of Lenore during this time.
Baisden allegedly failed to report that he was not able to work on a full-time basis from Feb. 25-April 20, 2013, and drew unemployment benefits in the amount of $5,927, to which he was not entitled. He was charged with five separate counts of failing to disclose a material fact to obtain or to increase a benefit.
All three defendants were arraigned in Magistrate Court. Bond for Baisden and Canterbury was set at $5,000, while bond for Runyon was set at $4,000. All were released from custody after posting bail. Runyon and Baisden are scheduled to appear for their preliminary hearings on April 10 at 9 a.m., while Canterbury faces a later court date of June 23, at 9 a.m.
Officials say unemployment fraud is not a crime that is taken lightly, and the Workforce for West Virginia has brought charges against several local residents within the last year.
If you are aware of someone committing unemployment fraud, you are encouraged to contact Lisa Bragg or another worker in the local office located on Stratton Street in Logan. You may also call them at 304-752-7010. Your name will be kept confidential, they are only interested in any information you may have.