Well technically dead people don’t work, so…
New Jersey (Richard Khavkine-The Star-Ledger) – Something strange alerted a debit card company to malfeasance that ultimately threatened to defraud the state’s unemployment insurance fund of more than $2 million. Wow! So we’re not talking a few bucks then.
The dead don’t typically make bank deposits. Well they do in Illinois, Michigan, Nevada, and Georgia… Why not Jersey as well?
Now, several live bodies are behind bars, with the scam’s Newark-based ringleader facing decades in state prison on theft and money-laundering charges, state Attorney General Jeffrey Chiesa said today. Good!
Terry Dilligard II, 35, his parents, twin sister and former girlfriend filed false claims based on bogus employment histories of dozens of people — at least five of them dead — in return for a cut of the benefits, Chiesa said.
“In this tough economy, unemployment benefits are a financial lifeline for hardworking New Jersey residents who have lost their jobs, and we cannot afford to have them drained by con artists,” Chiesa said.
In all, 31 people, 31?!?!?! Holy crap! all but three from Essex County, are alleged to have filed at least 100 bogus claims from August 2006 to November 2010, Chiesa said.Dilligard II; his mother, Janice Allen, 55, and twin, Janice Dilligard, 35, both of Newark; his former girlfriend, Monique Valentine, 33, of Roselle; and his father, Terry Dilligard Sr., 57, of DeLand, Fla., were charged with theft by deception and conspiracy. All face five to 10 years in state prison if convicted. Dilligard II is also charged with first-degree money-laundering, which carries a sentence of 10 to 20 years.
31 people? Unbelievable! I’m sure they all thought that they could get away with it forever too, huh?
Authorities unsealed indictments Friday and arrested 13 of 26 people for whom warrants were issued. The younger Dilligard is expected to surrender Monday, his Newark-based attorney, Anthony Mack, said this afternoon. Mack declined further comment.
Five other defendants were issued summonses, Chiesa said, including Terry Dilligard Sr., a former city commissioner in DeLand who once ran for a seat in the Florida Legislature. The guy was a POLITICIAN! Hahahahahahahahahaha!!! *sigh* That’s classic!
Prosecutors allege his political aspirations included a nefarious sideline — that while registering voters during his runs for office, he took residents’ Social Security numbers and birth dates and used them to file unlawful unemployment claims. Well that would explain how he got them, right?
In all, investigators found that nine Florida residents thereby became unwilling foils in the Dilligards’ scheme, netting father and son $174,848 from Sunshine State claims alone. There went more of your money, America. 99 weeks, was it? Is that what the president promised? See what happens when you expand a program?
People TAKE ADVANTAGE of it!
Contacted at his Florida home today, Dilligard Sr. said he was unaware of the charges against him. Yep, that’s a politician’s answer alright. Although New Jersey authorities had contacted him and his attorney months ago, “it’s something my son got involved in,” he said. “I haven’t stolen anything,” he said. Sounds like Blagojevich is going to have company.
He said that his son took the voters’ information during a visit to Florida. “I wasn’t aware he took them until he admitted it to my attorney,” he said.
The Dilligards and their accomplices submitted most of the phony claims online, using required and at times illicitly obtained personal information and fictitious employment histories, Chiesa said. Most of the claims listed the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, Newark Beth Israel Hospital and two private companies as past employers. Wait, all of this can be done online? So it never crossed anyone’s mind that by putting the process online, that people could scam the system easier?
One of the fraudulent filings returned nearly $57,000 in paid-out claims, authorities said.
Most of the benefits filed by the younger Dilligard were paid into accounts at internet banks set up through claimants’ names but that he controlled. Those accounts had affiliated debit cards, allowing Dilligard II to withdraw funds at will. Large sums were spent at gambling tables at an Atlantic City casino, prosecutors said. How bout that, just pissing away your tax dollars. How hard do you have to work in order for some asshole like this guy to go on a gambling spree? Just something to think about, America.
Chiesa called the scheme “an outrageous … form of fraud and greed.” Sure, yeah… that’s one way to put it.
The scam, though, was uncovered by Meta Bank officials, which found that unemployment benefits for multiple claimants were being deposited into a single account. Bank officials’ suspicions were also raised some when they saw some deposits were made into accounts belonging to people who had died. The bank then alerted authorities. Yeah, things like that do tend to get the banks attention. Sloppy and stupid. I hope they all get the maximum sentences!
Chiesa and Harold Wirths, commissioner of the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, said the ploy helped push through anti-fraud measures that would help eliminate a similar ruse. Push through a measure? Wasn’t this sort of thing already illegal?
Those include the replacement of paper checks with debit cards and new computer software to detect and thwart attempted fraud. But wait, didn’t this guy use a debit card in the commissioning of this caper?
Wirth, who said one of his prime missions was to steady the state’s unemployment benefits fund, said the new measures would derail future fraud attempts.
“If you’re stealing (unemployment insurance) funds,” he said, “we’re coming after you.”
So these assholes cost the American tax-payer $2M and we get the opportunity to pay for their cushy jail sentences. No matter which way you cut it, we’re still getting screwed.
I say we bring back the stocks, public flogging, and get rid of cable TV in the prisons. This was a brazen crime, executed by people who probably figured that they’d never get caught.
Let this be a lesson to anyone who thinks they can get away with something like this… They ALWAYS catch you!