TRENTON – Attorney General Jeffrey S. Chiesa announced that an Irvington man was sentenced to state prison today for his role in a scheme to steal more than $500,000 from the State of New Jersey by filing false claims for unemployment benefits.
Terrell Evans, 38, of Irvington, was sentenced to three years in state prison by Superior Court Judge Thomas M. Brown in Mercer County. Evans pleaded guilty on Nov. 29 to third-degree theft by unlawful taking, admitting he fraudulently cashed $16,576 in unemployment benefit checks in the names of others and deposited the proceeds into his bank account. Deputy Attorneys General Phillip Leahy and Anthony Torntore prosecuted Evans for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, and Deputy Attorney General Torntore handled the sentencing.
Evans was one of 31 defendants charged on March 1, 2012 in multiple indictments that stemmed from “Operation Labor Day,” an investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The indictments allege that five members of a Newark family led schemes in which the defendants filed false unemployment insurance claims between August 2006 and November 2010 which resulted in the theft of more than $2 million in unemployment benefits from the State of New Jersey. Claims were filed in the names of co-conspirators, individuals whose identities were stolen, and people who were deceased.
Evans was indicted along with Janice Dilligard, 36, of Newark, her mother, Janice Allen, 56, of Newark, and four other defendants in connection with a scheme to steal $585,304 in unemployment benefits. The two women allegedly led that scheme, and Evans and four other men assisted in the fraud and shared in the stolen unemployment benefits. The charges against Dilligard and Allen are pending, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
A separate indictment resulting from Operation Labor Day charges Terry E. Dilligard, 36, of Newark (Janice’s twin brother), his ex-girlfriend, Monique Valentine, 34, of Roselle, and Terry Dilligard Sr., 58, of Deland, Fla., (the father of Terry and Janice Dilligard) with defrauding the State of New Jersey of a total of $1,489,411 in unemployment benefits. Valentine pleaded guilty on March 13 to charges of conspiracy and theft and faces a five-year sentence. The charges against Terry E. Dilligard and his father are pending, and they are presumed innocent until proven guilty.
The indictments were presented to the grand jury by DAsG Leahy and Torntore. Detectives Kimberly Allen and Eric Ludwick were lead detectives for the Division of Criminal Justice.
The investigation was conducted for the Department of Labor & Workforce Development, Bureau of Benefit Payment Control, by Supervising Investigator Micheal Kulyk, Supervisor of Investigations Michael Marich, former Supervising Investigator Susan Zamparelli, and former Acting Chief of the Bureau of Benefit Payment Control John Galvin. Attorney General Chiesa thanked the Office of Labor Racketeering & Fraud Investigations within the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General (OIG), under the direction of Robert L. Panella, special agent in charge of the OIG New York Regional Office, for its valuable assistance throughout the investigation. He also thanked the following agencies which provided assistance at various times throughout the investigation: Boonton Police Department, New Jersey Human Services Police and the U.S. Marshals Service NY/NJ Regional Fugitive Task Force.
Attorney General Chiesa and Director Honig noted that the Division of Criminal Justice has established a toll-free tipline 1-866-TIPS-4CJ for the public to report corruption, financial crime and other illegal activities. The public can also log on to the Division of Criminal Justice webpage at www.njdcj.org to report suspected wrongdoing. All information received through the Division of Criminal Justice tipline or webpage will remain confidential.