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Feds Charge Newark, Irvington Postal Employees with Accepting COVID-19 Unemployment Aid While Employed

By rlsmetro on
Essex County

Two New Jersey postal employees were arrested today for their alleged roles in a fraud committed in connection with unemployment insurance benefits, Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced.

Federal officials said Mr. Khaori Monroe, 28, of Newark, and Mr. Ross Clayton, 30, of Irvington, are each charged by complaint with one count of wire fraud.

They are scheduled to appear by videoconference today before U.S. Magistrate Judge Leda Dunn Wettre.

According to the complaints:

On March 27, 2020, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) was signed into law.

The CARES Act created a new temporary federal unemployment insurance program called Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA), which provides unemployment insurance benefits (UIB) for individuals who are not eligible for other types of unemployment (e.g., self-employed, independent contractors, and gig economy workers).

The CARES Act also created a new temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance that provides an additional $600 weekly benefit to those eligible for PUA and regular UIB. Unemployment Insurance (UI) is a state-federal program that provides unemployment insurance benefits (UIB) to eligible workers.

Monroe and Clayton were U.S. Postal Service employees.

Monroe and Clayton each took UIB-related mail, including debit cards, from a U.S. Postal Service location in New Jersey and used that mail to obtain unemployment insurance benefits to which they were not entitled.

The charge of wire fraud is punishable by a maximum potential penalty of 20 years in prison and a fine of $250,000, or twice the gross profits or gross loss, whichever is greatest.