State prison inmates plead guilty to unemployment insurance fraud | USAO-NDNY
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Two New York State Prison inmates today pleaded guilty to conspiring with others to defraud pandemic-related unemployment insurance programs administered by the Department of New York State Labor (NYSDOL).
Reginald Thornton, 29, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. He admitted to conspiring with others to file unemployment insurance claims on his own behalf and on behalf of other inmates, even though they were incarcerated by New York State at Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone. , New York. The inmates were not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits.
Lord Paulin, 41, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit mail fraud and admitted to conspiring with Thornton and another person to file a false unemployment insurance claim in his own name while also incarcerated at Bare Hill.
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 NYSDOL.
Thornton agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $31,276 to New York State. Paulin accepted restitution in the amount of $10,004.
Mail fraud convictions carry maximum sentences of 20 years in prison, fines of up to $250,000 and probation conditions of up to 3 years. Thornton’s identity theft conviction carries a mandatory 2-year jail sentence, to be imposed consecutively to any other jail time. Thornton and Paulin are scheduled to be sentenced on June 30, 2022 by United States Chief District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular law the defendant is accused of breaking, US sentencing guidelines, and other factors.
These cases were investigated by USDOL-OIG, HSI, USPIS, and the NYSDOCCS and NYSDOL Special Investigations Offices. The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John T. Chisholm and 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 via NCDF’s online complaint form at: https://www. .justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.