ROCHESTER, Minn. -- A Rochester man has been charged with two felonies after he was reportedly heard on recorded jail calls making plans to continue to collect unemployment while incarcerated.

An investigator with the Olmsted County Sheriff's Office was reviewing inmate phone calls for an unrelated investigation when he came across calls made by an inmate, identified as Samuel Steward, directing a friend to log into his unemployment account and continue to collect benefits on his behalf while he was incarcerated, according to Sgt. James Schueller.

Working with the Minnesota Unemployment Insurance, investigators determined that Steward collected $1,035.20 in unemployment while he was incarcerated, Schueller said.

A person is ineligible for unemployment insurance if they are incarcerated in any manner, including home monitoring, regardless of any work search or work release agreement, according to Minnesota Unemployment Insurance.

Steward, 36, is charged with unemployment benefits-false representation-concealment of fact and theft by swindle. He made his first appearance on the charges Thursday morning, Feb. 4, in Olmsted County District Court.

Newsletter signup for email alerts

Steward has been held on $20,000 unconditional bond since Jan. 22 when he made his first appearance before on charges of felony domestic assault by strangulation, gross misdemeanor domestic assault and felony fifth-degree drug possession.