Illinois Man Charged with Operating Unemployment Benefits Fraud and Identity Theft Scheme
John H. Durham, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury in Hartford returned an indictment yesterday charging RICHARD M. LACH, 31, of Richton Park, Illinois, with six counts of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft stemming from a scheme to defraud state unemployment insurance programs in Connecticut and several other states.
LACH was arrested this morning in Matteson, Illinois. He appeared today in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, in Chicago, and was order detained pending his removal to the District of Connecticut.
According to the indictment, LACH fraudulently filed claims with the Connecticut Department of Labor for unemployment benefits in the names of identity theft victims, using their names, dates of birth and social security numbers. LACH directed that the unemployment benefits be directly deposited to Green Dot debit cards he was using. The Green Dot cards had been fraudulently opened in the names of other victims. In some cases, based on the fraudulent claims, unemployment benefits were deposited to the Green Dot cards. LACH then withdrew the funds or otherwise spent the funds for his own personal use and benefit.
The indictment further alleges that in addition to fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits from the Connecticut Department of Labor, LACH also fraudulently obtained or attempted to obtain unemployment benefits from agencies in other states, including Idaho, Iowa, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Texas.
Each count of wire fraud carries a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and aggravated identity theft carries a mandatory consecutive two-year term of imprisonment
U.S. Attorney Durham stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor – Office of Inspector General, Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, Connecticut Department of Labor, New York State Department of Labor, and Matteson (Illinois) Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Neeraj N. Patel.