Long Island Woman Pleads Guilty to Unemployment Insurance Fraud

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Briana Garland, 29, of Uniondale, New York, pleaded guilty today to conspiring with a New York State inmate to fraudulently obtain unemployment insurance. Garland’s plea is the fourth and final in a series of lawsuits related to the outbreak involving inmates at the Bare Hill Correctional Facility in Malone, New York.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman; Jonathan Mellone, Special Assistant to the Administrator, New York Region, US Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General (USDOL-OIG); Matthew Scarpino, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI); Ketty Larco-Ward, Managing Director of the Boston Division of the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS); Anthony J. Annucci, Acting Commissioner of the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (NYSDOCCS); and Roberta Reardon, Commissioner of the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL).

In pleading guilty to mail fraud, Garland admitted to submitting false unemployment insurance to the NYSDOL in the name of Bare Hill inmate Reginald Thornton. Prisoners were not eligible for unemployment insurance benefits. Garland agreed to pay $19,580 in restitution to the State of New York.

United States Attorney Carla B. Freedman said: “These federal inmates were previously incarcerated for other serious crimes, and now they will be serving time in prison for fraud. Thanks to the work of our federal and state partners, Briana Garland and her co-defendants will not be able to escape prosecution for defrauding a program that was intended to help unemployed New Yorkers put food on the table and pay their debts around the world. public health problems.”

“Briana Garland and her co-conspirators conspired to defraud the New York State Department of Labor by filing unemployment insurance (UI) benefits in people’s names,” said Jonathan Mellone, Special Director of the USDOL-OIG. those who were in prison who did not deserve to be given a job. such goodness. We will continue to work with our partners to protect the integrity of the UI system for those who take advantage of these programs. “

HSI Special Director Matthew Scarpino said: “It is outrageous that during one of the most difficult economic times in our history that Garland fraudulently attempted to obtain benefits for people who are struggling to find legitimate work during the pandemic. His crime was aggravated by conspiracy and terrorism.” the most famous one in prison. HSI will continue to identify and prosecute those who steal from the government and from the pockets of the American taxpayer.”

Ketty Larco-Ward, director general of USPIS, said: “Every time criminals use the United States Postal Service to line their pockets, at the cost of hard-working Americans, the US Postal Inspection Service it exists to judge them. Today’s petition shows how proud we are of our legal partnership, and how we will continue to stand ready to help solve cases like this. “

Garland’s mail fraud conviction carries up to 20 years in prison, up to $250,000 in fines, and up to 3 years of parole. He is scheduled to be sentenced on December 8, 2022 by U.S. District Judge Glenn T. Suddaby. A defendant’s sentence is determined by the judge based on the statute the defendant is accused of violating, the US Sentencing Guidelines, etc.

Thornton previously pleaded guilty to two counts of unemployment insurance fraud and was sentenced to 51 months in federal prison, to be served after the time served. Two other defendants, Rhasha Wright and Bare Hill inmate Lord Paulin, previously pleaded guilty to conspiring with Thornton to collect unemployment insurance payments in the names of Paulin and another inmate. Paulin was sentenced to 19 months in federal prison, to be served after his state sentence. Wright is awaiting sentencing.

New York State Department of Labor Director Roberta Reardon said: “The New York State Department of Labor is committed to fighting unemployment fraud, because every dollar stolen is a dollar taken from a law-abiding New Yorker who needs it. . This case was brought to light through our partnership with the New York State Department of Corrections and Community Supervision.

These cases were investigated by USDOL-OIG, HSI, USPIS, and the Offices of Special Investigations of NYSDOCCS and NYSDOL. The cases are 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 resources 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, expanding and integrating existing communications, identification tools and methods. exposing fraudsters and their schemes, and sharing and exploiting the information and insights gained from initial testing. To learn more about 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: