Rockford woman sentenced to over a year after pleading guilty to fraudulently receiving federal unemployment funds

CEDAR RAPIDS — A Rockford woman has been sentenced to over a year in federal prison after pleading guilty to federal charges of receiving unemployment benefits in other people’s names and then laundering most of those funds through cryptocurrency transactions.

53-year-old Stephanie Mendenhall pleaded guilty in March to four counts of theft of government funds and one count of money laundering conspiracy.

Mendenhall admitted at a plea hearing to making false claims in the names of others and depositing proceeds of at least $35,985 in her bank account. She received fraudulent benefits paid through the states of Maine, Michigan, Washington and Illinois, including benefits related to COVID-19 relief funds to which she was not entitled.

Mendenhall was recently sentenced by US District Court Chief Judge Leonard Strand to 15 months in prison and was ordered to make $46,378 in restitution to the affected states. She must also serve a two-year term of supervised release after her prison term.