Unemployment as an Indictment

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Listen to this StoryWUSA9-TV, six defendants have found themselves indicted by a federal grand jury for conspiracy to commit unemployment insurance benefits fraud in an alleged scheme involving fake residences and companies. Three other defendants allegedly involved in their scheme have pleaded guilty.

The story reports that the nine men allegedly involved in this unemployment fraud conspiracy purportedly established fictitious companies at their places of residence, pretending to pay one another and creating supposed employee-employer correspondence. According to the indictment, some of the individuals lent their addresses to this conspiracy, while others supposedly pretended they were being made unemployed by these non-existent companies. The individuals who allegedly supplied their address for the registration of fake companies received unemployment insurance funds, often in the form of pre-paid debit cards.

The indictment against these six individuals alleges that throughout the course of their unemployment fraud scheme, nearly $1.5 million in cash was withdrawn from ATMs and in stores over their course of this alleged conspiracy. As a result, four of the six recently indicted alleged fraudsters could face 20 years in jail, while at least two will face two year sentences as a mandatory minimum. (From what I understand, possessing a thorough criminal record won’t help these men to become any more employable in an environment that would want to hire them legally.)

It is critical to note that six of these defendants are merely accused, and are, therefore, innocent until proven guilty.

While the fate of these six defendants may be up in the air, one thing is clear: the federal grand jury indictment sends a strong message that Maryland takes unemployment insurance fraud seriously.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article titled, ”Six defendants indicted in $1.4 million fraud scheme,” and published by WUSA-TV on October 19, 2015.

BALTIMORE, Md. (WUSA9) — A federal grand jury has indicted six defendants on fraud and identity theft charges involving a scheme to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance benefits:

Diameter Jeffrey Akala, age 42, of Silver Spring, Maryland;Wilfred Mendez, age 21, of Bronx, New York;Eric Gonzalez, age 33, of Alexandria, Virginia;Tawana McClain, age 50, of Washington, D.C.;Ferny Alexander Moreno Puente age 23, of Gaithersburg, Maryland;Wilfredo Torres, age 35, of Alexandria, Virginia.

Three other defendants have pleaded guilty to their participation in the scheme:

Dulce Oleo, age 38, of the Bronx, New York;

Yaw Bempa-Boateng, age 35, of Silver Spring, Maryland;

Carmen Benitez, age 29, of Scranton, Pennsylvania

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.