LEESBURG — A federal grand jury has indicted a Leesburg woman and charged her with identity theft and attempting to steal up to $11 million in unemployment compensation payments from others.

Carol Wininger, 68, did manage to fraudulently collect $500,000, according to the charging document from the Middle Florida District U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Wininger allegedly manipulated the system from July 1, 2020 to Feb. 28, 2021. The indictment charges her with stealing the names and numbers of debit card holders.

During this same almost eight-month period, she was paying thousands of dollars in restitution to state probation officials for bad check and grand theft charges, according to Lake County court records.

Did the money come from the alleged federal scheme? It is not known.

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Court records in the state case state that she defrauded Axiom Bank of $17,500. Prosecutors dropped the charges in that case once she agreed to admit guilt and pay back the money. Records include a receipt for a $9,000 money order dated July 14, 2020. She completed her state pretrial intervention contract on Feb. 11 of this year.

As for the federal indictment, it is unclear how she came into possession of three debit cards, and exactly how she allegedly claimed the unemployment benefits of others.

A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office in…

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