SCI-Greene

File photo

File photo

File photo

File photo

SCI-Greene prison near Wayneseburg.

A former Washington County woman who filed for unemployment benefits on behalf of her son while he was an inmate at SCI-Greene prison last year pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday to a new charge.

Christina Marie Weigner agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit mail fraud after withdrawing an earlier guilty plea on similar charges accusing her of applying for 19 weeks of federal stimulus benefits that paid more than $9,000 to her son while he was incarcerated last summer.

Weigner, 48, who previously lived in Hanover Township but now resides in Clarksburg, W.Va., admitted to filing the benefits for her son, Levi Stroud, who has been jailed at SCI-Greene since January 2018.

Weigner originally pleaded guilty in February to conspiracy and fraud in connection with emergency benefits, but withdrew that plea after discussions with prosecutors. Her public defender, Jay Finkelstein, declined comment Thursday on why the plea was changed.

Weigner was originally scheduled to be sentenced June 8, but now will be sentenced Oct. 25 by U.S. District Judge Williams Stickman IV in Pittsburgh.

Levi was one of 33 inmates in the region charged last August with illegally receiving unemployment compensation as part of the additional $600 weekly benefit provided by the federal CARES Act for people who were left jobless during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Stroud, who was jailed at the state prison near Waynesburg following a crime spree involving numerous thefts in Beaver and Washington counties in 2017, also faces federal charges in connection with the unemployment benefits scheme. Stroud, 25, of 389 Steubenville Pike, Hanover Township, is scheduled for a plea hearing and possible sentencing in federal court June 30.

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