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Massachusetts man charged with unemployment fraud scheme against DETR

Updated March 8, 2021 - 2:05 pm

A Massachusetts man was arrested and charged with allegedly using a stolen identity to fraudulently claim unemployment benefits from the Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation.

William Cordor, 26, of Leicester, Massachusetts, was charged with one count of wire fraud and one count of aggravated identity theft. He was arrested last Friday and, following an initial appearance in Massachusetts federal court, Cordor was detained pending a detention hearing set for later this week.

In mid-August 2020, Leicester police arrested Cordor on suspicion of a domestic violence incident and officers found 21 prepaid debit cards in the names of approximately 13 different people, according to charging documents.

One of those cards was a Walmart Money Card in the name of a victim who filed for unemployment with Nevada’s workforce agency.

Records from DETR indicated that on July 17, 2020, an unemployment claim was made using the name and social security number of one of the 13 people, according to the affidavit from a U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General special agent. The records also showed that the claim was filed electronically using an IP address assigned to Somerville, Massachusetts.

DETR marked the claim as fraudulent and did not issue the unemployment benefits.

“On October 16, 2020, I spoke with a representative from the NV DETR, who confirmed that the claim in the name of D.R. was marked as fraudulent and no payments were made for this claim,” according to the six-page affidavit.

The DOL investigator spoke with the victim earlier last Wednesday and confirmed that the person did not file an unemployment claim with DETR, according to the charging documents.

Edward Ryan, an attorney representing Cordor, told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Monday, “We will be entering a plea of not guilty, and like any person charged with a criminal offense, he is presumed to be innocent and intends to defend himself. With most stories, there are more than one side.”

U.S. Secret Service agents had approached Cordor in late May 2020 about fraudulently obtaining jobless aid from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts using other people’s identities, totaling nearly $80,000, according to the charging documents.

The wire fraud charge provides for a sentence up to 20 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release and a fine of $250,000. A charge of aggravated identity theft provides for a mandatory sentence of two years in prison.

Last week, agency leaders from DETR told state lawmakers that it was combatting rampant fraud within the unemployment systems, leading to delayed jobless benefits for struggling Nevadans. The agency said it reports fraudulent claims to the Nevada attorney general’s office as well as federal law enforcement agencies like the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the U.S. Secret Service.

“A lot of this is international crime, a lot of this is coming from other continents and other parts of the country,” said Jeffrey Frischmann, a former deputy administrator contracted by DETR. “So it’s really out of the jurisdiction of our Attorney General and our local law enforcement.”

Contact Jonathan Ng at jng@reviewjournal.com. Follow @ByJonathanNg on Twitter.

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