Two Rensselaer County residents have pleaded guilty to federal charges for their roles in defrauding the state and federal government of more than $100,000 in unemployment insurance. The pair, identified as Taquan Parker and Olajuwon Sutherland, stole the personal identifying information of innocent New Yorkers and used the information to fraudulently apply for unemployment benefits.
Specifically, Taquan Parker, age 26, of Rensselaer pleaded guilty to conspiracy and mail fraud charges, admitting he provided a co-conspirator with the personal information of two individuals that was then used to file false claims with the New York State Department of Labor. As a condition of his plea, Parker has been ordered to pay $60,132 in restitution to the State of New York and forfeit $30,000 in fraudulently obtained proceeds.
Olajuwon Sutherland, age 27, of Troy pleaded guilty to conspiracy, mail fraud and wire fraud, admitting he provided a co-conspirator with the personal information of two people that was used to file false claims. As a condition of his plea, Sutherland has been ordered to pay $48,008 in restitution to the State of New York and forfeit $12,000 fraudulently obtained proceeds.
“This case demonstrates how effective government can be when agencies work together and bring all their tools to bear,” said New York State Inspector General Lucy Lang. “Unemployment insurance is crucial to helping New Yorkers survive the most trying times of their lives. I want to thank the many agencies, investigators and attorneys who secured this restitution for the State of New York, and for helping ensure that this critical safety net will be there for New Yorkers when they need it most.”
This case was investigated by the Office of the Inspector General, Homeland Security Investigations, United States Department of Labor, Office of the Inspector General (USDOL-OIG), the United States Postal Inspection Service, and the Schenectady County Department of Social Services. Assistant U.S. Attorney Joshua R. Rosenthal is prosecuting the case.