Two former state employees admit to big insurance benefit stealing scheme

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Two former state employees who joked about stealing $1.6 million in insurance benefits have pleaded guilty.

Carl Diveglia, 33, pleaded guilty on Thursday. His co-conspirator, 51-year-old Wendell Giles, pleaded guilty back in April.

Between July 2020 and August 2021, the men started fake unemployment insurance applications in the names of other people. Then they used the New York State Labor Department’s computer systems to release benefit payments on the false claims.  

Federal authorities say Giles and Diveglia used the money for personal enrichment, including Giles’ purchase of a motorcycle.

In text messages, Diveglia suggested a vanity license plate for Giles’s new vehicle, TY PUA, which Giles understood to mean “thank you pandemic unemployment assistance.”
According to the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Giles responded, “LOL.”

The mail fraud conviction carries a maximum term of 20 years in prison.