Albany, NY (October 12, 2012) -
The New York State Department of Labor, Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Federal Probation today announced the arrest of Patricia Harrington, of Liverpool, NY.
Investigators said between August 2011 and July 2012, Harrington stole nearly $20,000 in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits by filing false claims for herself and in the names of her three children and sister.
“I commend the Department of Labor for initiating this investigation and I thank the other law enforcement agencies who also played a role in bringing this case forward,” said Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. “Those who are thinking about stealing benefits intended for people when they are most vulnerable should be warned: you will be caught.”
The investigation that led to today’s arrest began in June when the New York State Department of Labor's Major Case Unit (MCU) discovered unusual activity on accounts coming from Liverpool, NY. Investigators connected her address to five UI claims all coming from Harrington’s home and also identified her on surveillance video making withdrawals from account debit cards.
In October 2008, Harrington was arrested for stealing identities, including those of family members and fraudulently applying for more than $130,000 in federal student loan benefits from private vendors. She pleaded guilty later that year and in July 2009 was sentenced to one year and one day in federal prison along with three years of supervised release.
“Arrests like these show just how sophisticated our systems are becoming so we can stay ahead of those who break the law,” said New York State Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera. “Our Department of Labor employees are also becoming more and more skilled at detecting fraud so we can bring scammers to justice.”
The Department of Labor's Office of Special Investigations partners with employers to aggressively investigate and root out unemployment insurance fraud within their businesses. The Office of Special Investigations builds cases and refers them to local district attorneys to prosecute.
During the last three years, the Department of Labor has uncovered more than $150 million in fraudulent unemployment insurance payments statewide and referred more than 2,600 cases to district attorneys and law enforcement agencies, including 750 last year alone.
Anyone with information about unemployment insurance fraud should call the Department of Labor's toll-free fraud hotline at (888) 598-2077.