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      North Myrtle Beach man pleads guilty to mail fraud

      Willie J. Ray, 47, of North Myrtle Beach, plead guilty in federal court in Florence, to mail fraud, United States Attorney Bill Nettles stated.

      United States District Judge R. Bryan Harwell of Florence accepted the plea and will impose sentence after he has reviewed the pre-sentence report, which will be prepared by the U.S. Probation Office.

      Evidence established that Ray applied for unemployment insurance payments with the South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce (SCDEW) even though he was working.

      As a result of the false claims made by Ray, he was paid benefits from March 2009 until November 2011.

      At the time the fraud was discovered, Ray had been paid $10,565.00 by SCDEW and $3,756.00 by the United States Department of Labor, to which he was not entitled.

      Nettles stated the maximum penalty Ray can receive is a fine of $250,000.00 and/or imprisonment for 20 years, plus a special assessment of $100.00.

      The case was investigated by agents of the Department of Labor OIG and South Carolina Department of Employment and Workforce.

      Assistant United States Attorney William E. Day, II of the Florence office handled the case.