HARRISBURG, Pa., Oct. 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Today, the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) announced its role, along with the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (USDOL OIG) and the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR), in the indictment by a federal grand jury of six defendants on fraud and identity theft charges involving a scheme to obtain unemployment compensation (UC). L&I estimates that this arrest thwarted a loss of $800,000 to the state's unemployment compensation fund.
The defendants claimed to have worked at companies, which were found to be fictitious, and used stolen identities in multiple states, including Maryland and Pennsylvania. Three of the six defendants have pled guilty.
"These indictments and guilty pleas send a strong message that schemes to defraud the unemployment compensation system will not be tolerated," said Labor & Industry Secretary Kathy Manderino. "L&I will to continue to work with the U.S. Department of Labor and others to do everything in our power to combat all cases of UC fraud."
Over the past two years, L&I's Office of Unemployment Compensation has worked diligently to streamline its UC fraud identification process and fully implement all of the fraud-finding resources at its disposal. Simultaneously, the bureau has strengthened its relationship with the USDOL OIG to broaden the scope of where and how it can search for and prosecute UC fraud. These initiatives have paid dividends in recent months, culminating with these indictments.
United States Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein commended the Department of Labor OIG and U.S. Postal Inspection Service for their work in the investigation, and praised the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, and the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry for their assistance in the investigation.
This case underlies the importance of L&I's UC public awareness program, "Keep It Working." This campaign, which is funded through a federal grant, is designed to educate the public about the impact of improper UC payments, preventing them before they occur, and educating employers on how to follow the UC law.
"The 'Keep it Working' campaign serves to educate folks about improper UC payments and does not presume the worst of a population that has, after all, been through a difficult situation – unemployment," Manderino said. "However, millions of dollars are lost through these less pernicious improper payments every year, so I commend all of our employees in our Office of Unemployment Compensation for proactively working to prevent and combat all attempts at UC fraud. This is a clear example of 'government that works.'"
For more information, visit dli.pa.gov
MEDIA CONTACT: Sara Goulet, 717-787-7530
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry