Four former employees of Parking and Security Services Inc. were hit with 23 counts of grand larceny and identity theft after being caught falsely collecting over $95,000 in unemployment benefits. The company, which handled parking for movie shoots like Rent and The Taking of Pelham 123, used the cash to undercut competitors. However, they were discovered when those whose identities were stolen attempted to claim unemployment, and were told the money had already been collected.
According to court documents, Jose Tejada, David Laurentine, Newton Cabreja, and Juan de la Rosa would ask employees to obtain Social Security numbers from unsuspecting individuals, falsely "hire" and then "fire" the individuals and then collect their unemployment benefits. The DA estimates about $22,000 came from money distributed to the state from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, and said, "These defendants created a mercenary scheme to take advantage of this program and defraud taxpayers."
State Labor Commissioner Colleen C. Gardner said, "Unemployment Insurance is there for people who are out of work through no fault of their own. Under no circumstance will it ever be tolerated as an ATM machine for lawbreakers who engage in identity theft." Three pleaded not guilty at an arraignment yesterday, but company owner Tejada was not present because he was awaiting extradition from New Jersey.