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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
June 23, 2005

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

 

Rachel Sacharow
609-984-1936

 

Division of Criminal Justice Charges Five with Illegally Collecting Unemployment Benefits
More than $68,700 Allegedly Bilked from Unemployment Program

TRENTON – Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Major Financial Crimes Bureau has charged five men with illegally collecting more than $68,700 in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The prosecutions result 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 five individuals with theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities for bilking the New Jersey UI benefits program out of more than $68,700.

"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 who attempt 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 uses a variety of methods to track those who would abuse the system and 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 June 16 indictment charged Richard Cook, 55, Steiner Ave, Neptune, Monmouth County, with three counts of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification to authorities for allegedly stealing more than $26,600 from the UI benefits program by not reporting earnings to DLWD. Cook filed for UI benefits in January of 2000 and 2001 and again in October 2002. The investigation determined that at various times while Cook was collecting on the claims, he was employed at GM Eastern Contracting, Inc., Asbury Park, Monmouth County.

A second June 16 indictment charged Julio Cesar Reyes, 49, Ft. George Avenue, New York, NY, with three counts of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification to authorities for collecting UI benefits while he was earning wages as a longshoreman. Reyes filed three UI benefits claims - October 1999, November, 2000 and January, 2002. The indictment alleges that Reyes was employed at various times on an as-needed-basis. It is charged that Reyes collected wages and failed to report his employment to the DLWD. As a result, Reyes allegedly bilked more than $18,200 from the UI benefits program.

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained a third indictment which charged Randy Hawes, 44, W. Trenton Avenue, Morrisville, PA, with two counts of theft by deception and two counts of unsworn falsification to authorities. Hawes filed two separate UI benefits claims while employed. The first claim, filed in April, 2000, paid benefits until October, 2000. During that time, Hawes was employed as a field laborer by Trenton-based Shaw Environmental. After filing the second claim in February 2002, Hawes resumed working for Shaw Environment. By not reporting his earnings to DLWD, Hawes received more than $9,316 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled.

A fourth indictment returned on June 16 charged Kyle Dixon, 45, Wayne Avenue, Philadelphia, PA (L/K/A), with theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities for allegedly obtaining more than $8,800 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled. Dixon filed for UI benefits in October 1999; in February 2000, Dixon began working as a cook at Forsgate Villas in Summit, Union County. It is charged that Dixon never reported the employment to DLWS.

A separate indictment returned on June 3, charged Carlos Manon, 37, De Berber Street, Newark, Essex County (L/K/A), with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly stealing more than $5,700 from the UI benefits fund. Manon filed for UI benefits in April, 2001 and collected on the claim until February, 2002. From May - June 2001, Manon was employed as a warehouse worker by Playmobil USA Inc., located in Cranbury, Mercer County. The investigation determined that from June to July, 2001, and again from December, 2001 to February, 2002, Manon worked as a dock warehouse worker at MCST Preferred Transportation Inc., located in Perth Amboy, Middlesex County. It is charged that during May 2001, Manon earned wages as a temporary employee from Brickforce Industrial Inc., in Edison, Middlesex County. The investigation further revealed that Manon failed to report any of the earnings to DLWD.

Deputy Attorney General Candy Cure presented the Cook, Reyes, and Dixon cases to the State Grand Jury. Cook’s case has been assigned to Monmouth County for trial; Reyes’ case will be venued in Bergen County for trial, and Dixon’s case has been referred to Atlantic County for trial. Deputy Attorney General Mark Kurzawa presented the Hawes and Manon cases to the State Grand Jury. Hawe’s case will be venued in Mercer County for trial and Manon’s case has been referred to Middlesex County 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 this release and the related indictments can be found 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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