Feds: Second state employee charged in unemployment insurance fraud, including pandemic relief fraud

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ALBANY – A second former state employee has been arrested, accused of fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits, including pandemic-relief benefits, federal prosecutors said Friday.

Wendell Giles, 51, of Albany, a former state Department of Labor employee, is accused of conspiring with a former co-worker to illegally obtain the benefits, prosecutors said.

An indictment against Giles was unsealed Friday, officials said.

He is accused of conspiring with Carl J. DiVeglia III, 33, of Albany. DiVeglia pleaded guilty last week to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges, prosecutors said.

The indictment against Giles alleges that from July 2020 to August 2021, Giles and DiVeglia submitted fraudulent unemployment insurance applications in the names of other people and then abused their state computer system access to release benefit payments on the false claims, prosecutors said.

The two then each received a share of the benefits, prosecutors said.

As part of DiVeglia’s guilty plea April 13, he admitted responsibility for more than $1.6 million in losses to the state Department of Labor and to personally receiving about $225,000 in proceeds, prosecutors said.

The case is being investigated by the FBI and state Department of Labor-Office of the Inspector General, with assistance from the Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations. It is being prosecuted by assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Chisholm and Joshua R. Rosenthal.

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