The New York State Department of Labor today announced the sentencing of a former employee convicted of perpetrating an Unemployment Insurance fraud scheme to exploit the system and unlawfully obtain funds. Wendell Giles was sentenced Thursday in US District Court Northern District of New York to 36 months in federal prison followed by a two-year period of supervised release. Giles was also ordered to repay NYSDOL $826,530 in restitution. Giles’s co-conspirator, who has also plead guilty, is jointly responsible for a portion of that sum.
New York State Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon said, “This betrayal of trust and exploitation of a vital safety net for hardworking New Yorkers is intolerable, and we condemn Wendell Giles's actions in the strongest terms. His sentence is a stark reminder that there are consequences for individuals who would brazenly abuse their authority and seek personal gain at the expense of the very people they were meant to serve. When this matter was brought to light, NYSDOL investigators readily assisted the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Labor in the investigation.”
Mr. Giles’s crimes occurred as NYSDOL staff was engaged in a comprehensive response to an unprecedented surge in unemployment insurance benefit claims resulting from the COVID-19 global health pandemic. The $105 billion delivered by the New York State Department of Labor during the pandemic was equivalent to more than 50 years’ worth of benefits.
“Despite the actions of this former employee, the Department’s commitment to maintaining the highest ethical standards and the integrity of our operations remains unwavering,” Commissioner Reardon said.
During the sentencing hearing, NYSDOL Associate Commissioner for Worker Protection Jacqueline Kagan Dupiche read an impact statement on behalf of Commissioner Reardon.
New Yorkers seeking to report UI benefits fraud can do so in three ways:
- Using NYSDOL’s Online Form
- Calling our hotline toll-free at (888) 598-2077. Calls can be made anonymously.
- Reporting by mail to:
New York State Department of Labor, Office of Special Investigations
Bldg 12 - Room 200, W. Averell Harriman Campus
Albany, NY 12226
To report employers committing fraud, the Employer UI Fraud page.