Couple charged for discussing unemployment fraud during Brown County jail call

Two people are accused of stealing unemployment benefits after they allegedly had a conversation about the funds on a recorded jail line. Kallie Noelle Kociemba, 28, of New Ulm, and Paul Alonzo, 31, an inmate at the Brown County Jail, were charged this month with felony counts of false representation of unemployment benefits and theft by swindle.

Alonzo is in jail under accusations that he molested a 7-year-old child known to him.  He’s previously been convicted in two separate criminal sexual cases involving victims he knew.

A criminal complaint says Kociemba referred to “your money,” when speaking in a phone call to Alonzo, a convicted sex offender.  Alonzo, who was jailed in May 2021 talked about the funds being “unemployment money,” according to the complaint.  This apparently upset Kociemba because the pair knew the conversation was being recorded.

The complaint says Kociemba acknowledged she had filed for unemployment on behalf of Alonzo while he was in custody because she was his power of attorney. Investigators say Kociemba also acknowledged during the phone call that she knew what the pair was doing was wrong and they could get in trouble.

Alonzo allegedly told Kociemba that “everyone does it,” and he was even receiving the benefits while he was employed prior to his arrest.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development confirmed an application for unemployment benefits was submitted in Alonzo’s name on May 30, after he had been arrested.  Further investigation showed that $6,264 in unemployment funds had been paid to Alonzo while he was in custody.