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Former Newark Postal Employee Sentenced to 13 Months in Prison for Unemployment Fraud


A former U.S. Postal Service USPS employee was sentenced to 13 months in prison for conspiring to fraud obtain unemployment insurance benefits fraudulently, Attorney Philip R. Sellinger announced.

Officials reported Ross Clayton, 31, of Irvington, previously pleaded guilty by videoconference before U.S. District Judge Julien X. Neals to an information charging him with conspiring to commit wire fraud.

Judge Neals imposed the sentence on September 21st in Newark federal court.

According to documents filed in the case and statements made in court on March 27th, 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 provided unemployment insurance benefits for individuals who were not eligible for other types of unemployment (the self-employed, independent contractors, gig and economy workers).

The CARES Act also created a new temporary federal program called Federal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (FPUC) that provided an additional $600 weekly benefit to those eligible for PUA and regular unemployment insurance benefits.

Clayton was a USPS employee and took unemployment insurance benefits-related mail, including debit cards, from a USPS location in New Jersey. He used that mail to obtain unemployment insurance benefits to which he was not entitled.

In addition to the prison term, Judge Neals sentenced Clayton to two years of supervised release and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $53,321.05 and forfeiture in the amount of $28,397.49.