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New York State Department of Labor

New York State Department of Labor, Manhattan District Attorney Announce Arrest of 8 Individuals on Unemployment Insurance Fraud Charges

Amount of Fraud Totals Nearly $250,000

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Albany, NY (December 14, 2015) -

The New York State Department of Labor and Manhattan District Attorney’s Office announced that eight individuals in Manhattan were arrested on Unemployment Insurance fraud charges. The individuals in this case illegally collected Unemployment Insurance benefits while working for an extended period of time. The amount stolen ranges from roughly $15,000 to over $55,000 and totals nearly $250,000.

“It is important for New Yorkers to know that the State Labor Department is committed to detecting and stopping Unemployment Insurance fraud,” said Acting Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “When fraud is identified, the Department's Office of Special Investigations conducts a comprehensive investigation to verify the facts of the case, and then forwards a criminal referral to the local District Attorney's office for their legal review and prosecution. I thank District Attorney Cyrus Vance and his team for their efforts in bringing these individuals to justice.”

The individuals under arrest are:


Amount of Fraud

Patrick Tierney


Martin D. Rivera


Mohamed Sylla


Elizabeth Rondon


Kenneth Brewer


Jesus Amparo


Christu Barnabas


Michael Smith


“Unemployment benefits are designed to assist New Yorkers in need of a temporary helping hand, not to serve as a secondary source of income,” said District Attorney Vance. “The theft of these benefits is a crime and my Office and our partners in the Department of Labor will continue to prosecute individuals that attempt to take advantage of these important services.”

The New York State Department of Labor operates one of the largest Unemployment Insurance systems in the country. In addition to administering the entire system, the Department of Labor is responsible for preventing and stopping fraud and protecting the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. When the Trust Fund is forced to pay out because of a fraudulent claim, employers have to pay more -- and that means consumers will pay more as well. It is in everyone's best interest to stop Unemployment Insurance fraud.

Department of Labor Office of Special Investigations staff monitors several data sources and utilizes various analytical techniques to determine when fraud occurs. On the whole, only a very small percentage of individuals who collect benefits do so illegally.  Those who do attempt to defraud the system are generally detected quickly. Once suspected fraud is detected, cases are referred to local law enforcement.

New York State is a national leader in the prevention and investigation of Unemployment Insurance fraud. In 2012, New York State was selected to create a single Unemployment Insurance National Integrity Center of Excellence by the United States Department of Labor. The Center is identifying, developing and piloting new strategies and tools to combat improper payment and fraud on a national level.

Anyone with information about possible Unemployment Insurance fraud should call the Department of Labor's anonymous toll-free fraud hotline at (888) 598-2077 or visit www.labor.ny.gov/fraud.


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