The Westchester County District Attorney’s Office recovered nearly $318,000 in fraudulent unemployment compensation claims last year and returned the ill-gotten gains to the state for the benefit of legitimate claimants.
District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino Jr. said in a news release that he has prosecuted false unemployment claims worth more than $892,000 in five years.
From 2013 through 2017, his office prosecuted 102 bogus claims ranging from $3,500 to $30,000.
Among the cases were people living outside of the United States who conspired with family and friends living here to falsely certify their eligibility.
Benefits fraud essentially amounts to lying about work. The state Department of Labor identifies several versions of the scam:
- Working “off the books” while collecting benefits.
- Using another person’s identity to file a claim.
- Helping another person file a false claim.
- Collaborating with an employer to illegally claim benefits.
- Misrepresenting how you lost your job.
The benefits are a lifeline for people who need help while they search for work, Scarpino said. When money is bilked from the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, businesses have to make up the difference and the costs are passed along to consumers.
Unemployment insurance fraud can be reported to the district attorney’s economic crimes bureau, 914-995-3460, or to the state Department of Labor, 888-598-2077.