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Cyrus R. Vance, Jr.

District Attorney, New York County

For Immediate Release
December 07, 2015

DA VANCE: EIGHT DEFENDANTS INDICTED FOR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS FRAUD

Defendants Fraudulently Collected Approximately $245,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Employed

Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance, Jr., announced the indictments of eight individuals for fraudulently collecting unemployment benefits while employed. The defendants are charged in New York State Supreme Court indictments with Grand Larceny in the Second and Third Degrees. 

“Unemployment benefits are designed to assist New Yorkers in need of a temporary helping hand, not to serve as a secondary source of income,” said District Attorney Vance. “The theft of these benefits is a crime, and my Office and our partners in the Department of Labor will continue to prosecute individuals that attempt to take advantage of these important services.”

“I thank the Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations for their important continuing work detecting potential fraud and referring their findings to law enforcement,” said Acting State Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon.  “When the Department’s efforts are met with equal dedication from law enforcement agencies, results like today’s arrests are achieved.  I thank the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office for once again proving themselves indispensable partners in the ongoing effort to stop fraud.  The Unemployment Insurance System is intended to aid those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own.  When criminals defraud the system, they must be apprehended and held accountable for their actions.  The integrity of the Unemployment Insurance system is paramount, and the Department of Labor and our partners in law enforcement remain committed to defending it.”

According to the indictments and documents filed in court, the defendants are charged with individually collecting tens of thousands of dollars in unemployment insurance benefits to which they were not entitled because they were all gainfully employed during the time periods charged. The defendants collectively stole approximately $245,000.

•    JESUS AMPARO stole approximately $31,000 while he was employed as a support associate at Bloomingdale’s Inc. 
•    CHRISTU BARNABAS stole approximately $28,300 while he was employed at Urban Foundation Engineering, LLC.
•    KENNETH BREWER stole approximately $43,900 while he was employed as a production manager at Digital Evolution, Inc. 
•    MARTIN RIVERA stole approximately $15,400 while he was employed as a dispatcher for Attitude New York Chauffeured Transportation. 
•    ELIZABETH RONDON stole approximately $15,800 while she was employed as a primary care associate for Northern Westchester Hospital.
•    MICHAEL SMITH stole approximately $56,200 while he was employed as on-air talent at Sirius XM Radio Inc. 
•    MOHAMED SYLLA stole approximately $25,150 while he was employed as a steward for Millennium Broadway Hotel.  
•    PATRICK TIERNEY stole approximately $29,300 while he was employed as a laborer for three separate construction companies. 

Assistant District Attorney Lauren Littman is handling the prosecution of the SMITH, BARNABAS, BREWER, and AMPARO cases; Assistant District Attorney Allen Vickey is handling the prosecution of the TIERNEY, RIVERA, SYLLA, and RONDON cases; under the supervision of Assistant District Attorney Archana Rao, Principal Deputy Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; Assistant District Attorney Michael Sachs, Chief of the Financial Frauds Bureau; and Executive Assistant District Attorney David Szuchman, Chief of the Investigation Division. Paralegal Morgan Brock-Smith and DANY Squad Detectives Alanda Corion, Anthony Pasquariello, Raymond Alicea, and Ruben Henriquez assisted with the investigation. 

District Attorney Vance thanked the Department of Labor, specifically Senior Unemployment Insurance Investigator Jonathan Imbert, Associate Unemployment Insurance Investigator Mark Peterson, and Unemployment Insurance Investigators Devon Joseph, Alan Moy, Trung Li, and Kristian Angeles.

[1]  The charges contained in the indictments are merely allegations, and the defendants are presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty. All factual recitations are derived from documents filed in court and statements made on the record in court.

Defendant Information:

JESUS AMPARO, D.O.B 7/6/1971
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

CHRISTU BARNABAS, D.O.B 6/29/1979
Bronx, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
 
KENNETH BREWER, D.O.B 12/18/1962
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

MARTIN RIVERA, D.O.B 11/27/1967
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

ELIZABETH RONDON, D.O.B 12/16/1970
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count
 
MICHAEL SMITH, D.O.B 9/23/1961
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, a class C felony, 1 count

MOHAMED SYLLA, D.O.B 1/10/1970
Bronx, NY
Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 1 count

PATRICK TIERNEY, D.O.B 4/20/1971
New York, NY

Charges: 
•    Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, a class D felony, 2 counts