Ex-Government Worker Sues Alleged Unemployment Insurance Fraud

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Former New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL) employee Wendell Giles, 52, of Albany, was indicted today on charges of wire fraud and theft.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Janeen DiGuiseppi, Special Assistant in Charge of the Albany Field Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI); and Jonathan Mellone, Special Assistant to the Administrator, New York Region, US Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General (USDOL-OIG).

As part of his guilty plea, Giles admitted that he and another former NYSDOL employee, Carl J. DiVeglia III, misused their computer systems to create and approve false insurance claims (UI) in 2020 and 2021, including federal applications. The Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) program.

Giles recruited family, friends and acquaintances to make false phone requests to DiVeglia after Giles instructed them to lie in response to pertinent questions. Giles and DiVeglia then took a share of the profits the NYSDOL was paid for the false claims. Giles used his share to enrich himself, including buying a three-wheeled motorcycle. In the text messages, DiVeglia offered a vanity license plate for Giles’ new car, “TY PUA,” which Giles refers to as “Thanks Pandemic Helpless.” Giles replied, “Lol.” Giles was hired as a Senior Employment Security Clerk, and DiVeglia as an Employment Services Representative.

Giles pleaded guilty to $826,530 in damages to the state-run UI benefit programs. He has agreed to pay all costs to the NYSDOL. DiVeglia previously pleaded guilty to similar charges and also agreed to restitution.

A conviction for mail fraud carries up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a mandatory parole period of up to three years. The aggravated identity theft conviction carries a mandatory sentence of 2 years in prison, to be served consecutively to any other prison term. Giles is scheduled to be sentenced on January 5, 2023 by Chief United States District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby. A defendant’s sentence is determined by the judge based on the laws the defendant is accused of violating, the US Sentencing Guidelines, etc.

The case was investigated by the FBI and USDOL-OIG, assisted by the NYSDOL Office of Special Investigations, and is being prosecuted by Assistant US Attorneys John T. Chisholm and Joshua R. Rosenthal.

On May 17, 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Task Force to use the funds of the Ministry of Justice in cooperation with federal agencies to strengthen efforts to combat and prevent fraud related to the pandemic. The Task Force promotes efforts to investigate and prosecute domestic and international criminals and supports organizations with a mandate to prevent fraud by, among other things, adding to and integrating existing methods of arresting, identifying tools and methods. exposing fraudsters. their schemes, and the sharing and use of information and intelligence obtained during past enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the outbreak, please visit

Anyone with information about fraud related to COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline at 866-720-5721 or through the NCDF Web Complaint Form at: