District attorney: Hundreds of Nassau employees targeted in unemployment fraud ring

Hundreds of Nassau County employees have been targeted by an unemployment fraud ring, which led to their identities being stolen and used to file false unemployment claims, according to the DA.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas says her office uncovered the fraud ring, which affected close to 400 people and stole tens of thousands of dollars from New York's unemployment system since back in March.
Singas says the thieves targeted workers at the county's largest institutions, including Northwell, Hofstra University, Nassau Community College, several school districts, and the villages of Valley Stream and East Williston.
"People started getting notices that their unemployment claims had been approved, but the problem was they never applied for unemployment, and they were still working," says Singas.
Singas says the investigation is still ongoing, but she does not believe the employers' systems were hacked. Instead she said it's likely the ring operates outside the country and purchased the information on the dark web.
"It's just a sad reminder that there will always be people who look to victimize already vulnerable populations," says Singas. "This is deeply upsetting because the pandemic has wreaked such havoc for so many people, whether they're suffering from a health crisis or an economic crisis. And now here comes this criminal ring and enterprise which looks to benefit themselves through unemployment money."
The DA has asked anyone who thinks they may have been a victim of this pandemic unemployment benefit scheme to contact the Financial Crimes Bureau at 516-571-2149.
Affected employees who are victims of identity theft are advised to immediately place a free fraud alert with any one of the three national credit bureaus -- Experian, Equifax or TransUnion.