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West Hempstead Resident Accused of Insurance Fraud

Seventeen Long Islanders, including one from West Hempstead, have been accused of unemployment insurance fraud, according to Nassau County officials.

According to District Attorney Kathleen Rice's office, those arrested were all found to have failed to report employment as required by Department of Labor regulations, thereby fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits. They were arrested during the past month and are all charged with third-degree grand larceny, for which they can serve up to seven years in jail.

“Unemployment insurance is meant to help honest workers get through hard times while they look for jobs, but these defendants are charged with abusing that trust and assistance by cheating the system,” Rice said.  “Thankfully the Department of Labor caught the scams and we’ll work together to prosecute these cases and return fairness to New York taxpayers.”

The following is a list of those charged with third-degree grand larceny:
  • Drew Himmel, 55, of West Hempstead: Between Feb. 21, 2010 and Oct. 2, 2011, he collected approximately $10,448 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Maryann Brachfeld, 47, of Massapequa Park:  Between Oct. 20, 2010 and Jan. 1, 2012, she collected approximately $15,998 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Robert Kennedy, 52, of Massapequa: Between July 19, 2009 and March 7, 2010, he collected approximately $14,620 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed. 
  • Lechelle Holston, 47, of Roosevelt: Between Oct. 4, 2009 and Nov. 20, 2011, she collected approximately $7,184 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Janiva Jones, 28, of Baldwin: Between June 28, 2009 and May 23, 2010, defendant collected approximately $9,936 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.  
  • Carmerose Julien, 36, of Hempstead: Between March 12, 2012 and Sept. 2, 2012, defendant collected approximately $7,493 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed. 
  • Alfred Lombardi, 37, of Garden City: Between Oct. 18, 2009 and July 25, 2010, he collected approximately $14,281 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Terry McCrimmon, 48, of Westbury: Between April 5, 2009 and March 29, 2010, defendant collected approximately $15,455 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Matthew O’Leary, 48, of Patchogue: Between March 5, 2007 and Aug. 12, 2012, he collected approximately $52,208 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Alejandrino Ortiz, 45, of Westbury: Between Sept. 20, 2009 and Nov. 14, 2010, defendant collected approximately $19,591 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed. 
  • Tiffany Pettway, 29, of Westbury: Between June 9, 2009 and May 16, 2010, she collected approximately$7,746 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed. 
  • Sonia Ramirez, 57, of Elmont: Between Jan. 10, 2010 and Jan. 29, 2012, she collected approximately $28,928 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Christopher Ray, 44, of Freeport: Between Aug. 9, 2009 and Sept. 4, 2011, he collected approximately $26,018 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Neal Rivera, 49, of Valley Stream: Between Feb. 7, 2010 and Dec. 12, 2010, defendant collected approximately $10,603 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Steven Soto, 49, of Ft. Lauderdale, FL (formerly of Valley Stream): Between June 7, 2009 and March 28, 2010, he collected approximately $18,490 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
  • Kevin Thomas, 50, of Hempstead: Between Jan. 18, 2009 and April 22, 2012, he collected approximately $10,911 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed. 
  • Steven Trakis, 31, of Long Beach: Between November 19, 2008 and August 1, 2010, defendant collected approximately $17,937 in unemployment insurance benefits while allegedly employed.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty.

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