PIERRE, S.D. (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a South Dakota man to pay back more than $279,000 for having claimed and received unemployment benefits that he wasn't entitled to.

U.S. District Judge Roberto Lange has ordered 43-year-old John Dewayne Ford, of Pierre, to repay $220,000 for the forty false claims he submitted to the U.S. Railroad Retirement Board and more than $59,000 in damages.

Ford last year pleaded guilty to theft of government property and was sentenced to three years of probation and ordered to pay more than $19,000 restitution.

Federal law allows the government to ask for triple the amount of damages, and civil penalties of not less than $5,500 per violation.

Ford was a conductor and engineer for the Dakota, Minnesota and Eastern Railroad from May 2010 through April 2012. He submitted the fraudulent claims during that period.

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