on the Dole & on the Job

Nab R’wood, Wdhvn. Men For Benefit Fraud

Two residents of Ridgewood and Woodhaven were recently collared for allegedly obtaining unemployment benefits while working, prosecutors announced last week.

Law enforcement sources said Steven Colon, 38, of Himrod Street in Ridgewood fraudulently obtained more than $58,000 in unemployment insurance payments between January 2009 and March 2013, despite being employed at the time. He was booked in January on charges of seconddegree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records.

Alfonso Vaca, 33, of 94th Street in Woodhaven was also cuffed in January on third-degree grand larceny and first-degree falsifying business records charges for allegedly stealing more than $27,000 in unemployment benefits while employed between March 2009 and May 2013, authorities stated.

Both suspects were released without bail following arraignment, it was noted. They are among 18 individuals busted in Queens for unemployment insurance fraud thus far in 2014, as announced last Thursday, Mar. 20, by Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown and State Labor Commissioner Peter M. Rivera.

“Unemployment benefits are a vital lifeline to those who lose their jobs and fraudulent collection of such benefits will not be tolerated,” Brown said in a statement.

“[Unemployment insurance fraud] hurts all New Yorkers by casting doubt on those taxpayers, small businesses and families who actually need these benefits to survive and put food on the table when they’re laid off of no fault of their own,” Rivera added.

Members of the New York State Department of Labor Office of Special Investigations and Det. Ferdinand Caravousanos of the NYPD Queens District Attorney Squad, under the supervision of Sgt. Francis Teran, Lt. Keith Gallagher and Capt. John M. Zanfardino, conducted the investigation.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant DistrictAttorney Rosemary Buccheri of the DA’s Economic and Environmental Crimes Bureau, which is supervised by Assistant District Attorneys Gregory C. Pavlides, bureau chief, and Christina Hanophy, deputy bureau chief.

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