When you think of Las Vegas things like casinos, world renowned entertainment, fine dining and nightlife come to mind. What you don’t immediately think about is that the state has one of the highest unemployment rates in the U.S. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that Nevada’s unemployment rate was at 4.9 percent as of August, 2017. (And where there is unemployment, there is unemployment fraud.) The Department of Labor reports that the state has an improper payment rate above 14 percent. (That’s not so great.) Today’s fraudster got creative and tried to commit unemployment insurance fraud by stealing from the State’s Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation while serving time behind bars.
The Las Vegas man at the center of today’s case worked with a co-conspirator to file unemployment claims on his behalf. The female co-conspirator neglected to inform the State’s Employment Security Division that he was able to work, but was incarcerated in a county detention center or the state prison during the time the claims were filed. (Oops, those were some very important details to communicate.) Because of these omissions, the incarcerated man collected more than $4,700 in unemployment insurance benefits. (Not bad for just two months of lying. It’s a good thing he was caught before he could get away with more undeserved benefits.)
The 44-year-old man, who had prior convictions for burglary and forgery, pleaded guilty to unemployment insurance fraud. He was sentenced to three to 10 years in prison. His female co-conspirator previously pleaded guilty to unemployment insurance fraud and was sentenced to 12 to 60 months of imprisonment.
The fraudster at the center of today’s case took three huge gambles with burglary, forgery and now, unemployment insurance fraud. Here’s hoping that this criminal has gotten the message that gamblers never win.
Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, “Las Vegas man to serve at least 3 years in prison for unemployment insurance fraud” posted on news3lv.com on September 13, 2017.
LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) — A Las Vegas man was sentenced Tuesday to 3 to 10 years in prison in connection to an unemployment insurance fraud investigation.
Richard James Penardo Jr., 44, worked with one or more co-conspirators who filed unemployment claims on his behalf between July and September 2011, according to a news release from the Nevada attorney general’s office.