By Linda Cicoira
Four local watermen pleaded guilty Thursday in Accomack Circuit Court to making false claims for unemployment benefits.
Seventy-nine-year-old Brooks D. Pruitt, of Onancock, pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor offense. Testimony disclosed that as a registered commercial waterman, he sold $18,000 worth of his catch while collecting the insurance. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence and had to pay back $6,444.
Seventy-year-old Donald Porter Sr., of Marsh Market Road in Hallwood, also pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of obtaining money by false pretenses. Porter had to pay back $11,228. He was also given a 12-month suspended sentence.
Judgment was withheld for a year for 51-year-old Phillip Williams, of Saxis. In that time, he must be on good behavior and pay $200 a month until all of the $8,654 he illegally obtained is returned to the employment commission. After that time, he would be convicted of a misdemeanor and given a 12-month suspended sentence. The same deal was made for Tyler Williams, of Saxis. He was ordered to pays back $8,970 at $200 a month.