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Little Egg Harbor Township Committeeman accused of wrongfully collecting unemployment March 3, 2010

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The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office announced today that Little Egg Harbor Township Committeeman Scott Stites has been charged with one count of theft by deception in excess of $500 for allegedly obtaining unemployment benefits from November 2008 through November 2009 by fraud.  Stites is also charged with one count of making an unsworn falsification (fourth degree) because he is alleged to have negotiated an unemployment check claiming that he met all the eligibility requirements for receiving unemployment benefits.

The case was the result of a cooperative investigation conducted by the Little Egg Harbor Police Department and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office.  That along with the speed in which this was uncovered leads me to believe that this was the result of a tip to local police which may have been politically motivated.  Normally, these cases are first uncovered by Department of  Labor who decides if and when to prosecute.  If often takes quite a while for these cases to unravel.  This case didn’t.  Should be interesting.

Story is here.

Eight people charged with unemployment fraud October 29, 2009

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None of these cases are related, but they are interesting.  The State often releases these indictments in groups and the dollar amounts are usually higher.  These cases have some very low dollar amounts.  Based upon my practice, I guess that these people made no attempt to resolve these matters before indictment.  If you get a notice that you are being investigated, you should call an attorney right away.  Call me anytime to discuss.

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced today that eight people have been charged with cheating the State of New Jersey’s unemployment fund out of a total of $100,487.   The charges resulted from cooperative investigations by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following separate state grand jury indictments: 

State v. Marvin Fletcher of Trenton, was charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between February 2003 and June 2005, Fletcher was earning wages while he was collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The indictment alleges that Fletcher failed to report the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and, as a result, allegedly received $26,231 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Jackie A. Seton of Trenton, was charged with third-degree theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between June and December 2004, Seton was earning wages while he was collecting unemployment insurance benefits. Seton allegedly failed to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the earnings and, as a result, allegedly received $6,966 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Bobby J. Threats, Jr of Trenton, was charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that, between September 2004 and December 2007, Threats collected unemployment insurance benefits while he was also earning wages. According to the indictment, by failing to report the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Threats allegedly received $6,614 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Faheem R. Murphy of Willingboro, was charged on Oct. 16 with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. Between December 2003 and June 2005, while collecting unemployment insurance benefits, Murphy was allegedly also earning wages. According to the indictment, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Murphy allegedly received $5,794 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Russell Halbach of Belford, was charged on Oct. 14 with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between November 2003 and May 2005, Halbach was earning wages while collecting unemployment insurance benefits. According to the indictment, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Halbach allegedly received $19,970 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Ronald Mazotas of Bordentown, was charged in a separate Oct. 14 indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. According to the indictment, between December 2004 and May 2005, while he was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, Mazotas was allegedly earning wages. It is charged that, by failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the earnings, Mazotas allegedly collected $8,382 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Kiyesha Harden of Vineland, was charged on Oct. 9 with third-degree theft by deception. According to the indictment, between August 2004 and January 2005, Harden was earning wages while collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The indictment alleges that, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Harden allegedly received $3,942 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

State v. Adolphine E. Jules of Roselle, was charged on Oct. 1 with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification to authorities. The indictment alleges that between December 2001 and July 2005, Jules earned wages while she was collecting unemployment insurance benefits. The indictment alleges that, by not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Jules allegedly collected $22,588 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

Five Charged with Stealing More Than $113,000 from New Jersey’s Unemployment Fund September 4, 2009

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The AG’s office has been busy for the past few weeks with unemployment fraud cases.  I just picked up a case last month myself but it seems like my case will work out with a  repayment and no criminal prosecution.   New Jersey sends out notices to those under investigation.  How a person responds to that notice can often have a great impact on the future of the case.

Fellow attorneys should take note of the dollar amount in these cases and that none of them are below $10,000.  There reaches a point where the dollar amount is so high that it is hard to argue that this was a mistake; or that is the State’s theory anyway.

Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni noted that the charges resulted from cooperative investigations by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau.

State v. Carlos G. Ortiz. Ortiz, 41, of Neptune, was charged in a Sept. 1 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. Ortiz filed for unemployment insurance benefits each December between 2001 and 2004. According to the indictment, while he was collecting on each of these claims, Ortiz was also allegedly earning wages. By not reporting the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Ortiz allegedly collected $29,877 in unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following state grand jury indictments during the month of August:

State v. Sauerio Bilotta. Bilotta, 43, of Bayonne, was charged in an Aug. 25 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. The indictment alleges that, while collecting on unemployment insurance benefits claims that he filed in 2001, 2002, 2003 and 2004, Bilotta was earning wages. According to the indictment, Bilotta did not report his earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and consequently stole $20,634 in unemployment insurance benefits.

State v. Mirjana Ivkov. Ivkov, 36, of Wayne, was charged in a separate Aug. 25 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. Ivkov filed claims for unemployment insurance benefits in November 2002, December 2004 and February 2005. According to the indictment, Ivkov was allegedly earning wages while she was collecting on these claims. By not reporting the wages to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Ivkov allegedly collected $15,885 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

State v. John K. Calhoun. Calhoun, 45, of Linden, was charged in an Aug. 5 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. The indictment alleges that Calhoun was earning wages while collecting on unemployment insurance benefits claims that he filed for in February 2003 and February 2004. The indictment charges that, as a result of failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of his earnings, Calhoun allegedly stole $18,942 in unemployment insurance benefits.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following guilty plea via a criminal accusation during the month of August:

State v. Eunice Rivers. Rivers, aka Eunice Lloyd, aka Eunice Lloyd-Rivers, 42, of Jersey City, pleaded guilty on Aug. 4 to third-degree theft by deception. Rivers admitted that while collecting on unemployment insurance benefits claims, she was earning wages. Rivers further admitted that, by failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the wages, she collected $28,274 in unemployment insurance benefits to which she was not entitled.

Four charged with unemployment fraud July 22, 2009

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Four people have been charged with stealing from unemployment in separate and unrelated cases.  This is fairly common and you see these indictments every few months.  Basically, someone goes on unemployment but then they go back to work without telling anyone.  Thus, they get paid from their job and unemployment.  Once that figure hits around$10,000 or so, the State moves to indict to make examples out of the big hitters.

Problem is, the plea offers are usually the same and trying to get the State to bend is difficult.  If word gets out that you got a better deal, everyone else will want one.  Thus, an attorney needs to quickly identify the best possible deal and decide if the client should press his or her luck rather early in the case.  Of course, this assumes you can get all of the records.

If you are charged or suspected of unemployment fraud, call me today.

Press release is below:

TRENTON – Attorney General Anne Milgram announced today that four people have been charged with cheating the State of New Jersey’s unemployment fund out of a total of $79,888.

Criminal Justice Director Deborah L. Gramiccioni noted that the charges resulted from cooperative investigations by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and the Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau.

The Division of Criminal Justice Major Crimes Bureau obtained the following state grand jury indictments last week:

State v. Jose A. Vasquez. Vasquez, 44, of Camden, was charged in a July 17 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. Vasquez filed UI benefits claims every year from 2000 to 2005. At various times throughout those years, Vasquez earned wages working as a construction worker for Jasticon, Inc. in Medford. By failing to notify the Department of Labor and Workforce Development of the employment, Vasquez allegedly received $31,451 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled.

State v. Harvey E. Grimes. Grimes, 41, of Ewing, was charged in a July 17 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. The indictment alleges that, while collecting on three separate UI benefits claims, in 2002, 2003 and 2004, Grimes allegedly earned wages from Jersey Temporaries, Inc., a temporary employee service. It is alleged that, by failing to report the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Grimes allegedly stole $22,055 in UI benefits.

State v. Sharnell Ramseur. Ramseur, 36, of East Orange, was charged in a July 16 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification for allegedly collecting $15,952 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled. The indictment alleges that, after filing for UI benefits in January 2003 and April 2004, Ramseur earned wages from Ford Motor Corp. It is further charged that Ramseur failed to report his earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development.

State v. Karen L. Jones. Jones, 48, of Newark, was charged in a July 16 state grand jury indictment with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. Jones filed for UI benefits in July 2002, July 2003 and July 2004. The indictment alleges that, while collecting on these benefits, Jones earned wages from Newark Pre-School Council, Inc., where she worked as a teacher’s assistant. Jones allegedly failed to report the earnings to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development and consequently stole $10,430 in UI benefits.

The Department of Labor and Workforce Development Commissioner David J. Socolow said that the cases were first identified by Labor Department investigators by cross-matching employer-submitted wage information against UI benefit payments; pursuing leads from employer protests of UI benefit charges; surveying employer payroll records; and responding to alerts from concerned citizens.