Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announced the New York State Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations named Erie County second in New York for recovering the highest in total restitution from unemployment insurance benefits fraud cases last year.
The Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund provides financial assistance to individuals who have lost their jobs and who are pursuing new employment. The Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations is responsible for investigating reports of fraud. Once suspected fraud has been detected, the case is turned over to local law enforcement.
The Erie County DA’s office remains committed to prosecuting individuals who unlawfully obtain these unemployment benefits. A person who has been charged with a fraud-related offense will often make restitution payments.
In 2018, the DA’s special investigations and prosecutions (SIP) bureau returned more than $430,597 in restitution to the New York State Department of Labor.
Over the past seven years, the SIP bureau has recovered more than $2,339,822 from these crimes, establishing the DA’s office as one of the leading offices in the State for returned restitution to the Department of Labor.
“If you steal from New York state, you are stealing from taxpayers and you will be prosecuted,” Flynn said. “I am proud to partner with the Department of Labor in these investigations. I hope that our efforts demonstrate that this is a crime that does not pay. It is one you will be required to pay back.”
Flynn commended the assistant district attorneys and staff from the SIP bureau for successfully prosecuting these cases.