Salem man given chance to pay back unfair unemployment checks
LISBON — A Salem man who unfairly collected unemployment compensation benefits for five months in 2017 will be given the opportunity to pay the money back as a part of his community control.
Chad L. Gower, 48, East Sixth Street, Salem, pleaded guilty to theft and falsification in August for obtaining the unemployment benefits he was not entitled to starting on Feb. 8, 2017 and continuing through July 8, 2017, making a false statement in order to secure the payments.
Assistant County Prosecutor Alec Beech had asked Judge Scott Washam to consider a nine-month prison sentence, while defense attorney Kelly Linger requested leniency, suggesting Gower had a minimal criminal record with the only felony from failing to pay child support in the past. Linger also indicated he was willing to repay the money taken either by working if he is able to work or by claiming disability following recent injuries from a car crash.
Prior to the hearing, Gower was holding his side and when asked about it by Washam, he said he broke some ribs. Linger said Gower is currently being treated by the Cleveland Clinic and has not been released yet to work, but he fully intends to either work or collect disability if it is approved so he can pay back the money.
“I do understand I did make a mistake,” Gower said prior to sentencing. “It was stupid on my part.”
Gower owes $5,723 to the Department of Jobs and Family Services.