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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
April 20, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Middlesex County Fugitive among Ten Charged with Illegally Collecting Unemployment Benefits
More than $119,000 Allegedly Bilked from Unemployment Program

TRENTON – Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Major Financial Crimes Bureau has charged ten New Jersey residents, including a fugitive from Middlesex County, with illegally collecting more than $119,000 in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The prosecutions resulted from a cooperative investigative effort by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) and the Division of Criminal Justice.

According to Director McKoy, the Division of Criminal Justice - Major Financial Crimes Bureau obtained separate State Grand Jury indictments charging ten individuals with theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities for bilking the New Jersey UI benefits program out of more than $119,000.

"The Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development have established investigative protocols which target deliberate and blatant attempts by individuals to steal thousands of dollars from the state unemployment fund," said Criminal Justice Director McKoy. “Make no mistake, we intend to investigate, prosecute, recoup, and return dollars stolen from our unemployment compensation programs."

"The Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD) uses a variety of methods to track down those who abuse the system to fraudulently obtain benefits," said Unemployment Insurance Director David Socolow. "These cases were first identified by DLWD 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 the staff of our local claims offices."

A State Grand Jury indictment charged Warren Evan Johnson, 34, Winding Wood Drive, Sayreville, Middlesex County, with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly bilking the UI benefits program out of more than $8,860. Mercer County Superior Court Judge Maria M. Sypek issued a warrant for Johnson’s arrest as Johnson is listed as a fugitive by the Middlesex County Sheriff’s Department for parole violations. The April 8 indictment alleged that Johnson filed for UI benefits in December, 1999, after being discharged from a job as a financial advisor for MetLife. One week after filing for UI benefits, Johnson began working as a salesman for Alpha-One Computer Solutions Corporation. It is charged that Johnson failed to report the employment and the earned income to the DLWD.

A second State Grand Jury indictment returned on April 8 charged James Barker, 41, Oakland Avenue, Berlin, Camden County, with three counts of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification to authorities. It is charged that Barker filed three separate UI benefits claim - the first in November 1999, the second in November, 2000, and the last in November, 2001. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice determined that at various times while Barker was collecting on the UI claims, that he was working as a foreman for Budds Pool Co., Inc., located in Deptford, Gloucester County. By misrepresenting his employment status to DLWD, Barker obtained more than $9,630 in illegal UI benefits.

A third April 8 indictment charged James A. Rando, 45, Ventnor Avenue, Margate, Atlantic County with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly stealing more than $5,685 from the UI benefits fund. Rando filed for UI benefits in October, 1999. In December of that year, Rando began working as a technician for David Nicholas Building & Property Maintenance, Inc. in Margate, yet failed to inform DLWD of the employment.

Additional State Grand Jury indictments filed by the Division of Criminal Justice - Major Financial Crimes Bureau include:

  • Joseph Johnson, 34, Essex Road, Lakehurst, Ocean County. Charged with four counts of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification for obtaining more than $15,400 in illegal UI benefits. The indictment charges that Johnson worked at Guardian Lawn & Turf, Manalapan, Ocean County, while collecting on four separate UI benefits claims;
  • James Sugeveges, 45, Woodland Ave., Laurence Harbor, Middlesex County. Charged with two counts of theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly working at Eagle Management Group, Paulsboro, Gloucester County, while simultaneously collecting a combined $18,069 from two separate UI benefits claims. A bench warrant was issued on March 30 for Sugeveges when he failed to appear at a pre-arraignment conference;
  • Kevin Martin, 43, Line Road, Holmdel, Ocean County. Charged with two counts of theft by deception and unsworn falsification for collecting more than $16,350 from the UI benefits program. The indictment alleges that after filing a UI claim in 2000, Martin worked part-time for three employers - Board of Fire Commissioners, Howell Township, Monmouth County, the Monmouth County Board of Education, and Total Homes Inspections, Manalapan. It is charged that Martin filed for UI benefits again in 2001 while employed by the Monmouth County Board of Fire Commissioners. It is charged that Martin failed to report any employment and/or earnings to the DLWD;
  • William Medina, 37, Concord Avenue, Bronx, NY. The indictment charges Medina with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly bilking the UI benefits program out of $17,853;
  • Lisa Richardson, 41, Nesbit Terrace, Irvington, Essex County. Charged with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for fraudulently collecting $10,175 from the UI benefits program;
  • Derrick Tetterton, 34, Garfield Avenue, Jersey City, Hudson County. Charged with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly collecting more than $8,540 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled; and
  • Miguel Torruellas, 36, 40th Street, Pennsauken, Camden County. Charged with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for fraudulently collecting more than $9,157 from the UI benefits program by not reporting employment to the DLWD.

Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan presented the Warren Johnson and Rando cases to the State Grand Jury. Deputy Attorney General Candy Cure presented the Barker, Joseph Johnson, Torruellas, and Suveges cases to the State Grand Jury. Deputy Attorney General Mark Kurzawa presented the Tetterton and Martin cases to the State Grand Jury. Deputy Attorney General Edward Werner presented the Medina and Richardson cases to the State Grand Jury. Warren Johnson and the Suvege cases have been listed for trial in the Middlesex County Superior Court. The Rando case has been venued in the Atlantic County Superior Court. The Barker and Toruella cases are venued in the Camden County Superior Court for trial. The Joseph Johnson case is listed for trial in the Ocean County Superior Court. The Tetterton case is listed in the Hudson County Superior Court for trial, while the Martin case is venued in the Monmouth County Superior Court. The Medina case is listed for trial in the Bergen County Superior Court. The Richardson case is venued in the Essex County Superior Court for trial.

Theft by deception is a third degree crime which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while unsworn falsification to authorities is a fourth degree crime which calls for up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

A copy of the criminal indictments is available via the Division of Criminal Justice Web site at www.njdcj.org.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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