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For Immediate Release:  
For Further Information Contact:
February 25, 2005

Office of The Attorney General
- Peter C. Harvey, Attorney General
Division of Criminal Justice
- Vaughn L. McKoy, Director


Rachel Sacharow


Division of Criminal Justice Charges New Jersey State Employee and North Jersey Man with Illegally Collecting Unemployment Benefits

More than $41,700 Allegedly Bilked from Unemployment Program

TRENTON – Division of Criminal Justice Director Vaughn L. McKoy announced that the Major Financial Crimes Bureau has charged a New Jersey state employee and a North Jersey man with illegally collecting more than $41,700 in Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits. The prosecutions resulted from a cooperative investigative effort by the Department of Labor and Workforce Development (DLWD)and the Division of Criminal Justice.

According to Director McKoy, the Division of Criminal Justice - Major Financial Crimes Bureau obtained separate State Grand Jury indictments charging two individuals with theft by deception and unsworn falsification to authorities for bilking the New Jersey UI benefits program out of more than $41,700.

"The Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Labor and Workforce Development have established investigative protocols which target deliberate and blatant attempts by individuals to steal thousands of dollars from the state unemployment fund," said Criminal Justice Director McKoy. “Make no mistake, we intend to investigate, prosecute, recoup and return dollars stolen from our unemployment compensation programs."

"The Department of Labor and Workforce Development uses a variety of methods to track down those who abuse the system and fraudulently obtain benefits," said Unemployment Insurance Director David Socolow. "These cases were first identified by DLWD investigators by cross-matching employer-submitted wage information against UI benefit payments; pursuing leads from employer protests of UI benefit charges; surveying employer payroll records; and responding to alerts from the staff of our local claims offices."

A Feb. 23 State Grand Jury indictment charged Valerie A. Sealey, 31, Phillip Avenue, Trenton, Mercer County, with theft by deception and unsworn falsification for allegedly bilking the UI benefits program out of $5,313. Sealey filed for UI benefits in October, 1999 and collected on the claim until April, 2000. An investigation by the Division of Criminal Justice determined that in October, 1999, Tri-State Employment Services, Inc., a temporary employment agency, placed Sealey at the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs where she worked on a temporary basis as a data entry clerk until December of that year. According to the indictment, Sealey was hired by the Department of Community Affairs in February, 2000. It is charged that Sealey failed to notify the DLWD of the earnings. Sealey is currently employed by the State of New Jersey’s Office of Administrative Law.

A separate Feb. 23 indictment charged David Correa, 34, Wallis Avenue, Jersey City, Hudson County, with theft by deception (3rd degree) and four counts of unsworn falsification (4th degree). Correa filed four separate UI benefits claims - March, 1999; March, 2000; March, 2001; and March, 2002. Throughout the time he was collecting on the claims, Correa was intermittently employed by Nabisco, Inc., yet never reported the earnings to the DLWD. Consequently, Correa fraudulently collected more than $36,400.

Deputy Attorney General Denise Grugan presented the Sealey case to the State Grand Jury. The case has been referred to Mercer County. DAG Mark C. Kurzawa presented the Correa case. The case will be venued in Hudson County. Both indictments were handed up to Mercer County Superior Court Judge Linda R. Feinberg, Superior Court Assignment Judge.

Theft by deception is a third degree crime which carries a maximum penalty of up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while unsworn falsification to authorities is a fourth degree crime which calls for up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of up to $10,000.

An indictment is merely an accusation. The defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

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