Partners With Local District Attorneys to Crack Down on Unemployment Insurance Fraud
Record-High $4.5 Million Returned to Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that through partnerships with local District Attorneys, a record-high $4,500,718 in fraudulently obtained Unemployment Insurance benefits was recovered in 2017.
"When unscrupulous fraudsters game the system, they do so on the backs of law-abiding New Yorkers and businesses," Governor Cuomo said. "I thank the investigators and local district attorneys for joining us in cracking down on unemployment insurance fraud and helping to preserve the integrity of the system."
The New York State Department of Labor's Office of Special Investigations is responsible for investigating instances of Unemployment Insurance fraud. The Department of Labor monitors several data sources and utilizes various analytical techniques to determine when fraud occurs. Overall, 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.
The following District Attorney offices returned more than $100,000 to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund in 2017:
District Attorney Office
2017 Total Restitution Returned
New York County
Other DA Offices
A list of recoveries from other offices is available here.
Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, "The State Labor Department is committed to aggressively investigating UI fraud. We rely on dedicated partners in law enforcement to prosecute the cases we refer and it's a testament to those relationships that we continue to achieve new record highs each year."
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said, "I am proud to have our office partner with the Department of Labor in investigating these cases. When you cheat the state, you cheat every law-abiding taxpayer in New York."
Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr. said, "Unemployment insurance benefits are meant to support New Yorkers who are out of a job for reasons beyond their control—not those who manipulate these support systems to enrich themselves. My Office is committed to holding these fraudsters accountable, and I thank Governor Cuomo, the Department of Labor, and our partners for working together to recover these illegally obtained funds for the benefit of taxpayers, employees, and employers throughout New York State."
Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said, "Unemployment benefits are a vital lifeline for many New Yorkers, but those who would falsely apply for and receive unemployment funds in Queens County will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. In addition to seeking punishment for those who try to cheat the system, we will also go after the money. Unemployment Insurance scams erode vital workplace protections for all employees."
Westchester County District Attorney Anthony A. Scarpino, Jr. said, "Bilking the system of financial aid earmarked for people in need has a collateral effect. 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."
Monroe County District Attorney Sandra Doorley said, "Insurance fraud is only a small aspect of our Economic Crime Bureau. The three Assistant District Attorneys in this bureau work diligently to prosecute a variety of financial crimes and I am very proud of their success with Unemployment Insurance fraud. I am delighted whenever my attorneys are able to recover taxpayer dollars and we will continue to work with law enforcement and the NYS Department of Labor to demonstrate our commitment to prosecuting fraud."
Suffolk County District Attorney Timothy D. Sini said, "The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office works hard each and every day to ensure justice is being served on behalf of our residents and we will not stand to let dishonest people cheat the system. Prosecuting these false claims not only protects our taxpayers, but it ensures that every dollar spent is going to residents who truly need these services. I thank Governor Cuomo for leading this effort in New York State and commend the hardworking men and women of the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office's Economic and Cyber Crime Bureau for assisting in the recovery of these funds to protect taxpayers."
Orange County District Attorney David M. Hoovler said, "My office is dedicated to combating frauds that effect taxpayers' wallets, such as unemployment insurance fraud. We have had great success in recovering public money that has been taken through fraud, and pledge to continue those efforts. Fraud prosecutions are most successful when agencies work collaboratively with each other. Whether it is working with the New York State Police and New York State Department of Labor to prosecute unemployment insurance fraud crimes, or working with the Department of Social Services and Orange County Sheriff's Office to combat welfare fraud, cooperation between agencies has been essential to the outstanding results we have had so far. I thank the New York State Police and the New York State Department of Labor for all the assistance they have provided to our office in the investigation and prosecution of unemployment insurance fraud cases."
Onondaga County District Attorney William J. Fitzpatrick said, "Going after fraud and theft of taxpayer money has always been a priority of my tenure. This is another example of how working together with the state, in this case the Department of Labor, can ferret out those people who take advantage of the system."
Richmond County District Attorney Michael E. McMahon said, "Those who cheat and unduly collect unemployment insurance benefits are stealing public funds meant to serve as a critical safety net for individuals out of work. These fraudsters drive up costs for honest business owners and can leave taxpayers unprotected, and their unscrupulous actions will not be tolerated. My office's Economic Crimes Bureau will continue to work together with Governor Cuomo, the Department of Labor, and our partners to recover these illegally obtained funds and prosecute these bad actors to the full extent of the law."
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 ensuring the integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund, which is funded entirely by employer contributions. 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.
New York State is a national leader in the prevention and investigation of Unemployment Insurance fraud. 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.