Two Defendants Charged with Prison-Based Unemployment Insurance Fraud
ALBANY, NEW YORK – Ivis Jorge, age 44, formerly an inmate at the Riverview Correctional Facility in Ogdensburg, New York, and Pamela Febo, age 38, of Keansburg, New Jersey, were arraigned today on an indictment alleging a fraud scheme to obtain unemployment insurance benefits, including COVID-19 pandemic-related benefits, from programs administered by the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).
The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Agent in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS); and NYSDOL Commissioner Roberta Reardon.
The indictment alleges a conspiracy to submit a fraudulent unemployment insurance claim to NYSDOL using Jorge’s personal identifying information. Febo allegedly submitted the application at Jorge’s direction in October 2020 and continued to re-certify Jorge’s benefits eligibility each week for approximately four months knowing that Jorge was incarcerated, and not “able and available to start work immediately.” NYSDOL paid more than $27,000 in benefits on the claim. The charges in the indictment are merely accusations. The defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Jorge, who remains subject to incarceration by New York State, waived a detention hearing and United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart ordered him detained in federal custody pending trial. Febo was ordered released.
Both defendants are charged with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and wire fraud, as well as substantive wire fraud counts. The charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.
The case is being investigated by the FBI, the NYSDOCCS Office of Special Investigations, and the NYSDOL Office of Special Investigations. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John T. Chisholm.
On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by, among other methods, augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the Department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.