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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
September 19, 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 Two New Jersey Men with Illegally Collecting More than $22,000 in Unemployment Benefits
Investigation Determined Defendant was Incarcerated While Collecting Benefits...

TRENTON – Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Major Financial Crimes Bureau has charged two New Jersey men with illegally collecting more than $22,000 in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, one of whom was incarcerated in county jail while collecting 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 two people with theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities for bilking the New Jersey UI benefits program out of more than $22,000.

"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 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 Sept. 15 indictment filed by the Division of Criminal Justice charged Josue Soto, Goodwin Street, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, with two counts of theft by deception and one count of unsworn falsification. The indictment alleges that Soto stole more than $13,700 in UI benefits by not reporting to the DLWD that he was working while collecting UI benefits claims. Soto filed for UI benefits in December 2000 and again in January 2002. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice determined that, Soto was employed as a laborer by three different pool/construction companies: Ridge Pools, Inc., Basking Ridge, Somerset County; Distinctive Pools, Inc., Morganville, Monmouth County; and C&R Utilities, Inc., Spotswood, Middlesex County during the time that he was collecting on both claims.

A Sept. 12 indictment charged Harry Alexander, 53, Black Horse Pike, Williamstown, Gloucester County, with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly collecting more than $8,200 in UI benefits to which he was not entitled. Alexander filed for benefits in March 2000 and again in June 2001. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice determined that while he was receiving the benefits, Alexander was employed by Gramlich Services, Inc., located in Atco, Camden County. He failed to notify DLWD of these earnings. The investigation further revealed that, as he was collecting on the second claim, Alexander was incarcerated for several weeks at the Gloucester County Jail.

Deputy Attorney General Erin Callahan presented Soto case, which will be venued in Middlesex County. DAG Edward Werner presented Alexander’s case, which was referred to Gloucester County.

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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