Schenectady County

33 charged in crackdown on unemployment fraud

Police have charged 33 people from the Capital Region and North Country with defrauding the state's

Police have charged 33 people from the Capital Region with defrauding the state’s unemployment insurance trust fund out of more than $116,000.

33 charged with unemployment insurance fraud

33 people were charged with felony filing a false statement in a state probe into unemployment insurance fraud, listed with the amount they are accused of receiving in fraudulent benefits:

– April Tanner of Albany, $4,028

– David Arroyo, of Albany $6,214

– James Ford, of Albany,$6,581

– Anthony Wilkins, of Albany, $1,624

– Duane Bouck of Watervliet, $2,835

– Robert Vandyck of Delmar. $1,867

– Pauline Ryan of Albany, $1,850

– Sonja Morris of Albany, $5,327

– Scott Boyle of Johnstown, $6,885

– Katrina Brown of Troy, $2,270

– Laura Navoian of Hoosick Falls, $2,887

– Patricia Wilcox of Waterford, $1,890

– Robert Hermann of Ballston Spa, $2,881

– Amy Sorrell of Troy, $1,671

– Marquis Van Ness of Schenectady, $3,256

– Tanekianday Flores of Schenectady, $2,562

– Thomas Thompson of Schenectady, $2,158

– Amy Ouderkirk of Glenville, $1,341

– Gregory Burke of Scotia, $1,182

– Jackie Barber of Queensbury, $3,506

– Rebecca Wendell of Glens Falls, $3,766

– Robert Brown of Hudson Falls, $3,237

“Many of these individuals stole the money while they worked and continued to collect unemployment insurance benefits,” said state Labor Department Commissioner Patricia Smith, who announced the arrests today.

The individuals who were arrested received anywhere from $1,182 to $14,175 in fraudulent and spent the stolen funds on anything from scuba diving equipment to haircuts and services at area nail salons. In Albany County, there were eight cases totaling $30,327; in Rensselaer County, five cases total $15,292; in Saratoga County, three cases total $6,443; and in Schenectady County, five cases total $10,769; in Fulton County, one case totals for $6,885.

Each fraudulent claim costs the average employer in New York with 15 employees about an extra $1,000 per year in unemployment taxes, Smith said.

The arrests were made as a result of a new Labor Department program to detect fraud by partnering with law enforcement and local district attorneys. Schenectady District Attorney Robert M. Carney said the Department of Labor is providing his office with prosecutor-ready cases, complete with affidavits that can go right to a grand jury and trial.

Officials are cracking down on unemployment fraud, with the number of cases doubling from 19,000 in 2006 to 36,000 in 2007, Smith said.

“The unemployment trust fund is set up as a lifeline for people who are unemployed through no fault of their own and in hard times will have money to pay for groceries, gas and rent,” she said. “When individuals steal from the fund, they just don’t steal from other individuals who are truly needy, but also from the businesses [who pay into the system].”

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