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Cook Accused Of Stealing Unemployment Benefits In Westchester While Out Of Country

Juan Vega.
Juan Vega. Photo Credit: Westchester County District Attorney's Office

A seasonal employee in Westchester has been busted for allegedly stealing thousands of dollars through unemployment insurance theft schemes while he was out of the country.

Greenwich resident Juan Vega was arrested this week as part of an ongoing investigation into unemployment benefits insurance fraud, Westchester County District Attorney Anthony Scarpino, Jr., announced on Tuesday. The arrest comes less than a week after three others were charged for similar offenses.

Vega worked as a seasonally employed cook at the Elmwood Country Club in White Plains during the summer. The felony complaint alleges that he arranged to receive benefits while spending much of his off-work “winter” season out of the country, which was confirmed by Homeland Security investigators.

Scarpino said that “his certifications of unemployment were false because he concealed that he was actually living outside the U.S. during periods each year from February 2015 to April 2017.” Vega received unemployment insurance benefits of approximately $13,165.

Vega was arrested and charged with one count of offering a false instrument for filing with intent to defraud the state. Following his arraignment in White Plains City Court, he was released and scheduled to appear on Nov. 16 to answer the charge.

“Unemployment benefits are a lifeline for those out of work in situations beyond their control, but, they are not free,” Scarpino stated. “Anyone seeking unemployment insurance must follow the rules.

"These defendants did not. They broke the law. Our teams of investigators and Assistant District Attorneys work closely with the New York State Department of Labor to bring to justice those who would steal funds from the state, and all of us, by taking money that does not belong to them.”

New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon added, “New York State has a zero-tolerance policy for the theft of important safety net benefits. Let this case serve as a warning to those who would seek to defraud the unemployment insurance system: you will be brought to justice.”

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