The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's Office of Integrity Announces Unemployment Compensation Fraud Convictions, Prosecution Statistics

Dec 11, 2013, 15:45 ET from Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry

HARRISBURG, Pa., Dec. 11, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry's Office of Integrity today announced recent results of its unemployment compensation (UC) fraud investigations. Two convictions resulted in incarceration and more than 50 cases have been referred to law enforcement for investigation with plans to increase fraud referrals in the future.

Two individuals – one in Lebanon County and one in Allegheny County – recently received prison sentences plus restitution for UC fraud convictions.

Joseph Rider of Lebanon County received a sentence of 14 months to three years incarceration plus $28,870 in restitution.  Holly Lang of Allegheny County was sentenced to six to 12 months in prison with $28,262 due in restitution. Restitution collected goes directly back into the state's UC trust fund.

The Office of Integrity works with district attorneys' offices around the state to investigate and prosecute cases of fraud, waste, and abuse, primarily in the UC system. There are 18 criminal prosecutions with charges filed involving more than $655,000 in overpayments due to the UC trust fund. Of those 18, nine cases are currently pending in the commonwealth courts and nine involve more than $350,000 in court-ordered restitution.

L&I established the Office of Integrity in 2011 to fight fraud, waste and abuse of government programs.

"It is our responsibility to protect taxpayers and ensure that commonwealth programs are being used fairly and within the confines of the law so that they are available for people who need and deserve them," said Labor & Industry Secretary Julia Hearthway. "There is no better example than unemployment compensation, which provides a lifeline for people between jobs."

L&I recently concluded an unemployment compensation amnesty program where both individuals and businesses owing overpayments to the state's UC fund could make good on their debt with reduced fees and penalties.

"Increased efforts to root out fraud are the next logical steps, post-amnesty," Hearthway said. "Those owing the state's UC fund had a 90-day window to make their accounts current and if they chose not to do so, then they may find themselves in a lot of hot water."

Media contact: Sara Goulet, 717-787-7530

SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry