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Feds: NJ Scammer, Accomplice Submit $1.2M In Bogus COVID-19 Unemployment Claims

More than 100 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims were filed, federal officials said.
More than 100 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims were filed, federal officials said. Photo Credit:

A Paterson man and an accomplice filed nearly $1.2 million in bogus COVID-related unemployment claims over the course of three months, federal authorities in Massachusetts charged.

Omar Thompson, 39, and his unidentified female partner submitted more than 100 fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims, sometimes recruiting people from other states in the scheme and pocketing kickbacks, they said.

Roughly half of the claims were submitted on behalf of people with out-of-state driver’s licenses and mailing addresses, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for Massachusetts.

In another, the co-conspirator submitted a claim in Thompson’s name that dished out more than $19,000 – even though he didn’t live or work in Massachusetts, federal prosecutors said.

The PUA program was created under the federal CARES Act last year to provide unemployment insurance benefits for people unable to obtain them elsewhere.

A federal magistrate judge in Newark released Thompson with conditions on wire fraud charges on Wednesday,

Participating in the investigation were the U.S. Secret Service’s Boston office, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General’s Office of Investigations and the office of U.S. Attorney for Massachusetts Nathaniel R. Mendell.

Assistance was provided by the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the Secret Service’s Newark field office and New Jersey State Police.

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