Long Island woman sentenced to prison for unemployment insurance fraud | USAO-NDNY
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Rhasha Wright, 30, of Roosevelt, New York, was sentenced today to 24 months and a day in prison for conspiring with New York State prisoners to defraud unemployment insurance related to the pandemic.
The announcement was made by US attorney Carla B. Freedman; Jonathan Mellone, Special Agent in Charge, New York Region, US Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General (USDOL-OIG); Matthew Scarpino, acting special agent in charge of the local Buffalo Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) office; Ketty Larco-Ward, inspector in charge of the Boston branch of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS); and Roberta Reardon, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).
Wright previously pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. She admitted conspiring with co-defendants Reginald Thornton and Lord Paulin, two inmates at Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone, New York, to defraud NYSDOL by submitting false unemployment insurance claims to NYSDOL on behalf of de Paulin and in the name of another Bare Hill prisoner. Inmates were not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby also sentenced Wright to serve 1 year of post-release supervision and ordered him to pay $11,696 in restitution to New York State.
Thornton previously pleaded guilty to participating in two unemployment insurance fraud conspiracies while in prison and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison, to be served after his state prison term ended. Paulin was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison, to be served after his state sentence ended. A fourth defendant, Briana Garland, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Thornton to submit a fraudulent claim on Thornton’s behalf and is awaiting sentencing.
The cases were investigated by USDOL-OIG, HSI, USPIS, and the NYSDOCCS and NYSDOL Offices of Special Investigations. The cases were prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua R. Rosenthal.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to mobilize Department of Justice resources in partnership with government agencies to scale up enforcement and prevention efforts. pandemic-related fraud. The task force strengthens efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies administering relief programs to prevent fraud, among other methods, by increasing and integrating coordination mechanisms existing ones, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their agendas, and sharing and leveraging information and knowledge gained from previous enforcement efforts. For more information about the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about alleged attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline at 866-720-5721 or through the complaint form NCDF online at: https://www. .justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.