Only months after serving time for tax fraud, a 54-year-old New Jersey man is facing up to seven years in prison after pleading guilty to a scheme to steal more than $183,000 through unemployment fraud. He was released from federal prison in May.
The defendant, a Paramus resident, confessed that he and others conspired to collect unemployment benefits based on fraudulent employer wage statements submitted by two trucking companies he was associated with. Prosecutors said the plan was hatched in November 2006 and continued while the defendant served time in federal prison for receiving more than $200,000 in tax refunds based on illegal IRS filings. He reportedly had money from the unemployment scheme wired to his prison commissary account.
The defendant enlisted the help of three other men to run the scam. A 38-year-old Newark man pleaded guilty to charges of second-degree conspiracy and third-degree theft by deception in December. He faces up to five years in prison and must pay $43,908 in restitution. A 39-year-old Newark man and a 37-year-old Woodland Park man each pleaded guilty to third-degree theft by deception. The 39-year-old faces up to three years in prison and must pay $25,502 in restitution. The state is recommending a sentence of 364 days in prison for the 37-year-old. He must pay $59,400 in restitution.
Under a plea arrangement, the defendant will face up to seven years in a state prison. He has also been ordered to repay $54,623 to the U.S. Department of Labor.
Those accused of fraud or other white collar crimes may wish to retain the services of a criminal defense lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney could evaluate the strength of the prosecution's case and advise a client of appropriate legal defense strategies. Depending on the evidence in the case, legal representation may recommend negotiating for a plea deal that mitigates the most serious charges in exchange for the defendant's guilty plea.
Source: NJ.com, "N.J. unemployment scam leads to guilty plea in $183K fraud," Ted Sherman, Feb. 23, 2015