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Feb. 7, 2018 -- Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. today announced that his office has returned nearly $900,000 in restitution to state coffers over the past five years through the successful prosecution of unemployment insurance fraud.

Noting that unemployment rates in the Hudson Valley are on the rise despite shrinking state rates over the past year, Scarpino said, “Unemployment insurance benefits serve as a lifeline for individuals who are out of work and in need of financial assistance while they search for meaningful employment. For those people who would collect benefits, knowing they are ineligible, we send a strong message by prosecuting them to the full extent of the law.”

According to Scarpino, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office has returned a total of $892,204 to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund over the past five years, $317,842 of which was returned in 2017 alone.

From January 2013 to December 2017, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office prosecuted 102 cases of unemployment insurance fraud, including cases against claimants improperly receiving benefits as well as those unlawfully collecting unemployment benefits while living in countries outside the United States. In these particular cases, claimants conspired with others, typically family and friends living in the U.S., to falsely certify for them, a scheme that can sometimes go on for years.

All told, the average false claim ranged from $3,500 to $30,000, according to Scarpino. 

In the last five years, the Westchester County District Attorney has returned restitution totaling $892, 204 to the Trust Fund as follows:

  • 2017: $317,842
  • 2016: $303,268
  • 2015: $88,297
  • 2014: $119,828
  • 2013: $62,969

According to the New York State Department of Labor, the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office is “one of the leading District Attorney offices in New York State for returned restitution to the Department of Labor,” falling only behind Erie County, New York County and Queens County.

In a letter to Scarpino dated January 23, 2018 from the New York State Department of Labor’s Office of Fraud Investigations, Director Vince Coyne wrote, “Prosecuting individuals who illegally secured Unemployment Insurance benefits and restoring the restitution to the Trust Fund allows future unemployed claimants to receive weekly financial aid. Your prosecutions also send a powerful message that your office is determined to protect the Trust Fund, the employers, and tax-payers of Westchester County.”

“Bilking the system of financial aid earmarked for people in need has a collateral effect,” Scarpino concluded. “Businesses pay more and, in turn, those costs are passed along to consumers. We take these crimes seriously, and we will continue to work with the Department of Labor, Homeland Security and the New York State Police to bring those who defraud the State to justice.”

To report potential unemployment insurance fraud, please contact the Westchester County District Attorney’s Economic Crimes Bureau at (914) 995-3460.

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Media contact: Deidra Thomas
111 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.
White Plains, NY 10601
Tel: (914) 995-3586
Fax: (914) 995-2116