49 busted for unemployment fraud after jobs found
Westchester and Rockland county officials announced the arrests Tuesday of 49 people who allegedly bilked the state for $200,000 in unemployment benefits.
Labor officials say the suspects continued to apply for unemployment benefits after they found new jobs. Of the 49 suspects, 25 are from Westchester and one is from Rockland. The Rockland suspect is accused of stealing more than $6,000.
"We need to preserve this fund for the people who truly need it," says Rockland County District Attorney Thomas Zugibe.
People like Sheldon Searcy, a former human resources administrator, who has been through four jobs since 2000. "I'm trying to do it the right way," he says "If you're desperate, you may resort to ? something [like that]."
"When people cheat the system, which is what these people have done, the rest of us bear the brunt of that selfish conduct," Westchester County District Attorney Janet DiFiore says, referring to the fact that businesses would eventually have to pay more unemployment taxes to cover increased claims.
The suspects, who will have to pay back the benefits if they're found guilty, face up to seven years behind bars.Labor officials are currently using better technology to detect fraud, including a system that immediately alerts the state when a person has found a job.
To report unemployment fraud, call the Unemployment Insurance Fraud Hot Line at 1-888-598-2077.