Nine New Jersey Postal Workers Indicted on Charges of Unemployment Benefits Fraud

Nine U.S. Postal Workers Indicted on Charges they Stole Nearly $50,000 by Fraudulently Collecting Unemployment Benefits While Employed
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TRENTON – Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman announced that nine current and former U.S. Postal Service employees have been indicted on charges that they stole a total of nearly $50,000 by fraudulently collecting unemployment insurance benefits while working for the Postal Service.

The Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau obtained nine separate state grand jury indictments over the past month charging each of the nine defendants with third-degree theft by deception. The final three defendants were indicted yesterday.  The defendants collected amounts ranging from $2,000 to nearly $9,000. The theft charge carries a potential sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000 upon conviction.

The cases were referred to the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office by the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General. Those agencies audited New Jersey Department of Labor unemployment insurance claim records against payroll records for the U.S. Postal Service to identify postal workers who fraudulently collected benefits in New Jersey. It is alleged that the nine defendants purposely misrepresented their employment status, or their hours worked and income earned, to the New Jersey Department of Labor in order to receive unemployment insurance benefits. The nine defendants allegedly received a total of approximately $49,564 in benefits to which they were not entitled during the period from 2010 through 2015.

“Unemployment insurance provides a financial safety net for New Jersey workers when they fall on hard times, and we won’t tolerate selfish criminals who lie about their employment status and steal from this critical fund,” said Acting Attorney General Hoffman. “By aggressively prosecuting these defendants, we send a strong deterrent message to make others think twice about filing false claims.”

“These defendants stole thousands of dollars in benefits by falsely certifying, week after week, that they were either unemployed or not earning anything close to what they actually made working for the U.S. Postal Service,” said Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice. “It’s not like they lied just once; they allegedly repeated their fraud over and over again to keep the stolen benefits flowing.”

“These indictments come as a result of the excellent investigative collaboration between the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General,” said Eileen Neff, Special Agent in Charge of the USPS-OIG’s Northeast Area Field Office. “The Postal Service prides itself in its dedicated and professional employees, but the few who stray and are willing to commit fraud against our programs receive very focused attention from the USPS-OIG and our law enforcement partners.”

The Division of Criminal Justice obtained indictments charging each of the following defendants with third-degree theft by deception. It is alleged that each defendant fraudulently misrepresented his or her income and/or days worked when they reported such information to the New Jersey Department of Labor via the Internet each week or by phone every other week, as required in order to receive benefits:

  1. Ivory Downey, 41, of East Orange, N.J., was indicted yesterday, Nov. 16.  It is alleged that Downey filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims between Nov. 27, 2010 and June 3, 2011, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $8,721 to which she was not entitled while employed at the U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Kearny. Downey allegedly under-reported her income or days worked on a weekly basis for 27 consecutive weeks.
  1. Mikikia C. Johnson, 40, of Jersey City, N.J., was indicted on Oct. 16.  It is alleged that Johnson filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims between June 23 and Aug. 10, 2012, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $8,626 to which she was not entitled while employed as a casual employee at the U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Jersey City.
  1.  Gloria Long, 64, of Jersey City, N.J., was indicted on Nov. 4.  It is alleged that Long filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims between Dec. 11, 2010 and May 18, 2012, to receive unemployment benefits in the total amount of $8,142 to which she was not entitled while working as a casual employee at the U.S. Postal Service distribution center in Jersey City. For the period from Dec. 11 to Dec. 24, 2010, Long allegedly under-reported her income, and for the 26-week span from Nov. 19, 2011 through May 18, 2012, she allegedly reported no hours worked and no income, even though she worked nearly 1,000 hours for the U.S. Postal Service.
  1. Diana Rivera, 34, of Paterson, N.J., was indicted yesterday, Nov. 16.  It is alleged that Rivera filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims for 10 consecutive weeks between March 10 and May 18, 2012, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $6,792 to which she was not entitled while employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a carrier assistant at the Elmwood Park Post Office.
  1.  Siobhan Austin, 40, of Irvington, N.J., was indicted on Nov. 4. It is alleged that Austin filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims between Sept. 10, 2011 and Nov. 29, 2013, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $6,629 to which she was not entitled. During that time, Austin was employed as a carrier technician for the U.S. Postal Service in Paramus and earned gross income of $34,000, but she allegedly reported only $2,687 of the income.
  1. Tea Graham-Gates, 45, of Jersey City, N.J., was indicted on Oct. 16.  It is alleged that Graham-Gates filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims between June 19, 2010 and July 8, 2011, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $3,388 to which she was not entitled. During that time, Graham-Gates was employed as a mail processing clerk in Kearny.
  1. Aaron J. Buie, 71, of Piscataway, N.J., was indicted yesterday, Nov. 16.  It is alleged that Buie filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims for six consecutive weeks between March 2 and April 12, 2013, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $2,961 to which he was not entitled while employed by the U.S. Postal Service as a city carrier at the Muhlenberg Station Post Office in Plainfield.
  1. Eboni M. Bush, 35, of Plainfield, N.J., was indicted on Nov. 4. It is alleged that Bush filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims for five consecutive weeks between May 10 and June 13, 2014, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $2,247 to which she was not entitled. During that time she was employed as a letter carrier in New Brunswick.
  1. Atalaya C. Haskins, 26, of Newark, N.J., was indicted on Oct. 16.  It is alleged that Haskins filed fraudulent unemployment insurance claims between Jan. 7, 2012 and Nov. 21, 2014, to receive unemployment benefits in the amount of $2,058 to which she was not entitled. During that time, Haskins was employed as a mail processing clerk in Kearny.

All of the defendants are former employees of the U.S. Postal Service, with the exception of Austin and Haskins, who currently are suspended from their jobs with the U.S. Postal Service as a result of these investigations.

The indictments are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. The indictments were handed up in Superior Court in Mercer County.  They were assigned to Superior Court in the counties where the defendants reside.

Deputy Attorney General Christopher J. Keating presented each case to the state grand jury for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crime Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Attorney General Jacqueline Smith, who is Deputy Bureau Chief, and Deputy Attorney General Jill Mayer, who is Bureau Chief. Special Agent Thomas Hartley was the lead case agent for the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General.

Acting Attorney General Hoffman thanked the U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General and the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General for their joint investigations. He also thanked the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development for its assistance with records used in the investigations.

6 thoughts on “Nine New Jersey Postal Workers Indicted on Charges of Unemployment Benefits Fraud

  1. If you read branch items in the postal record, many thank the old timers who stood up back in 1970 and said no to the letter carriers union president, who was only interested in the status quo and saving his job and struck, because of the unfair pay in nyc and other areas. Our National president is again doing the same. Not interested in helping out high cost of living area’s with getting a living wage, as the federal gov’t continues to add more area’s that get area cola’s. The UAW just rec’d huge raises and a 4 year contract and contract ratification bonus checks. FedEx and ups make 30% more than us, and all they have to do is deliver parcels. We must remember forwards holds markup accountables fss dps cased mail extra bundles……….. How our go along union does nothing to raise the level of poverty many carriers endure in high cost of living areas is beyond me. Our HBP costs go up faster and more $ wise total then our salaries. And before the inexpensive areas chime in, the mail must be delivered everywhere, so just because you say MOVE, only means someone else must live in poverty somewhere delivering the mail. When will the letter carrier union execs get out of bed with elephant plaza and raise all letter carriers out of poverty with a decent contract and area wage.????????? – See more at: http://www.postal-reporter.com/blog/usps-execs-get-pay-increase-bonuses-and-pmg-dpmg-get-new-perk-for-fy2015/#comment-86703

  2. That’s what happens when they drive downtown roll down the window and ask if anyone wants a job with the USPS.

  3. Wait a second, they were all “set up” I’m sure all the people involved in finding this out are white!

    Ok I was being sarcastic but I’ll bet that will come up somewhere during all of this!!!!

    • Really ?? We only make up about 15% of population. What U should ask yourself is why R U so afraid? Whites like yourself have done evil things out of fear & should be ashamed. People work & collect unemployment all the time so why are they being publicly humiliated?

  4. 95,000 postal employees on limited/lite/IOD……….Postal OIG and Postal Inspection Service should follow a few of them around……..might see they only hurt on the clock and not off it! better yet, hire a “private company” to do it. think of the $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$ you will save.

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