Ex-Marine Scams Unemployment System
A Rockaway ex-marine was arrested for fraudulently receiving more than $70,000 in unemployment benefits by using seven different names and social security numbers, Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced this week.
Eduardo Ramirez, 22, of Beach 120 Street in Rockaway Park was discharged from the Marine Corps under less than honorable conditions on March 25, 2010, with a rank of private (pay grade E-1). He is presently awaiting arraignment in Queens Criminal Court on a criminal complaint charging him with one count of second-degree grand larceny and 99 counts of firstdegree falsifying business records. If convicted, Ramirez faces up to fifteen years in prison.
“The defendant was deemed unfit for military service, and as such, was not entitled to receive unemployment benefits upon his discharge,” Brown said. “It is alleged, however, that not only did he unlawfully receive thousands of dollars in compensation under his own name but six others as well. His alleged conduct does a grave disservice to the countless men and women who return home after risking their lives in defense of our country.”
According to Brown, ex-service members are entitled to receive unemployment benefits under certain circumstances.
They must provide a copy of their certificate of release or discharge from active duty (DD Form 214), which includes the branch of military service, last duty assignment, date of separation from service and pay grade. However, if the ex-service member received a dishonorable, bad conduct or other than honorable discharge, he or she would not be entitled to unemployment benefits.
According to the criminal complaint, the state Department of Labor received two express mail envelopes on the same day with the same return address of 22- 10 Crescent Street, Astoria, Queens. Inside each envelope allegedly was a DD Form 214 filed under sequential social security numbers. It is further alleged that a review of Department of Labor records revealed five additional claims for unemployment benefits filed with sequential social security numbers and which were linked to the Crescent Street address and Ramirez’s cellular telephone number, which he used to recertify each week under the seven different social security numbers in order to receive continued unemployment benefits.
In six of the cases, it is alleged that Ramirez, using the names Eddie Rodriguez, Eddie S. Riemers, Edwin Lacosta, Edward Sanders, Edward Ramos and Christopher Stratanger, noted that he was honorably discharged with the rank of corporal, which meant that he could receive the maximum unemployment rate allowed of $405 per week.
In the seventh case, he used his own name but stated that he had been honorably discharged with the rank of private, first class, which entitled him to unemployment benefits of $363 per week. As a result, Ramirez fraudulently received $73,044 between April 8, 2010, and August 21, 2011.