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Press Release

Hazleton Man Pleads Guilty To $150,000 Fraud

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Pennsylvania

     The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced that Joseph M. Yesvetz, age 57, of Hazleton, Pennsylvania, pled guilty in federal court today in Scranton before U.S. District Judge Robert D. Mariani to making a false claim for benefits under the Department of Labor’s Energy Employees Occupational Illness Compensation Program (EEOICP).

     According to United States Attorney Peter J. Smith, EEOICP is meant to compensate individuals who suffer work-related health conditions due to exposure to toxic substances in the work place. Yesvetz filed a claim on behalf of his father who died in 2001 after working at a beryllium plant and who allegedly suffered from chronic beryllium disease. Yesvetz admitted that he lied on the claim form by failing to report his prior conviction in 2008 for mail fraud in connection with his receipt of over $88,000 in Pennsylvania state workers’ compensation benefits meant for his deceased father. Yesvetz received $150,000 in April 2012 as a result of his false claim under the EEOICP.

     The case was investigated by the Department of Labor Inspector General’s Office and is assigned to Senior Litigation Counsel Bruce Brandler for prosecution.

     A sentence following a finding of guilty is imposed by the Judge after consideration of the applicable federal sentencing statutes and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.

     In this particular case, the maximum penalty under the federal statute is five years’ imprisonment, a term of supervised release following imprisonment, and a fine. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the Judge is also required to consider and weigh a number of factors, including the nature, circumstances and seriousness of the offense; the history and characteristics of the defendant; and the need to punish the defendant, protect the public and provide for the defendant’s educational, vocational and medical needs. For these reasons, the statutory maximum penalty for the offense is not an accurate indicator of the potential sentence for a specific defendant.

Updated April 15, 2015