Were you among the 1.5 million New York State residents unemployed due to the pandemic? Imagine having no job and finding out the unemployment benefits you are counting on are gone. How could the money be gone?

2 Albany men are accused of stealing approximately $1.6 million in unemployment benefits from New York State residents. How did they do it?

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The United States Department of Justice announced this week that 2 New York State employees allegedly conspired to steal unemployment benefits, including funds specifically designated for pandemic relief.

The DOJ alleges that Wendell Giles and Carl DiVeglia teamed up to create fake unemployment applications. The 2 Albany men used other people's names and information to fill out applications for benefits. They may have been using New York State Department of Labor computers to approve the false payments with each of them taking a cut.

Getty Images
Getty Images

As alleged in the indictment, Wendell Giles and his co-conspirator used their (former) positions at the NYS Department of Labor to cheat a system designed to help unemployed New Yorkers. Their scheme lined their own pockets during a global pandemic when millions lost their jobs and needed help more than ever. The FBI, along with our partners, will continue to aggressively investigate and hold accountable those who defraud programs designed to assist Americans in need. - FBI Special Agent in Charge Janeen DiGuiseppi 

Wendell Giles

  • Pled not guilty to mail fraud and aggravated identity theft charges
  • Giles was released with conditions.

Carl DiVeglia

  • Pled guilty on April 13
  • DiVeglia admitted responsibility for over $1.6 million in losses to NYSDOL and to personally receiving approximately $225,000 in fraud proceeds

A mail fraud charge carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to 3 years. The aggravated identity theft charge carries a mandatory term of 2 years in prison.

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