Rensselaer man charged in pandemic-related unemployment fraud

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FILE – In this May 7, 2020, file photo, the entrance to the Labor Department is seen near the Capitol in Washington. Unemployment fraud in the U.S. has reached dramatic levels during the pandemic: more than $63 billion has been paid out improperly through fraud or errors since March 2020. Criminals are seizing on the opportunity created by the pandemic and are making false claims using stolen information. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS) – On Thursday, Hector Sanchez, 29, of Rensselaer was arrested on an indictment charged with six counts of alleged mail fraud and three counts of identity theft filing false unemployment claims receiving more than $80,000 in benefits.

Sanchez engaged in a fraud scheme from August to November 2020, to obtain personal identification of individuals, including the use of social media, to file false unemployment applications with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).  

Sanchez used debit cards linked to the false claims in order to obtain cash, goods, and services.

Sanchez appeared before Judge Daniel Stewart, on Sept 9, ordered detained pending a hearing for September 14.

If convicted Sanchez could face a maximum of 20 years in prison for mail fraud charges, up to $250,000 in fines, with probation.

Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID can report it to the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.

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