A New Jersey man has been sentenced to nine years in prison for scamming his state for over $200,000 in unemployment benefits.
Ricardo Santiago, who also went by Arcadio, was sentenced to second degree theft by deception for his role in deceiving the state into granting him unemployment checks.
Santiago filed a number of bogus unemployment insurance claims from January 2013 to February 2015 by setting up two fake businesses, using false documents, pay stubs, and W-2 forms from purported employees.
He would use bank accounts under other fictitious names that he fully controlled in order to collect the money.
The total catch for Santiago? $219,424.
Santiago, however, who pled guilty late last year, not only has to serve nine years, but was ordered to have to pay back the money.
Deborah Freier, the Assistant Prosecutor on the case, emphasized how unemployment insurance is intended to serve as a safety net for those who have a legitimate need for benefits. She sincerely hopes that the outcome from this case will discourage future individuals from trying to pull a similar scheme.
While this would be the ideal situation, it is hard to gauge whether this type of scheme could be used in the future. Either way, it is highly likely that scammers will continue to find a way to scam as long as the opportunity presents itself.