Connecticut Man Charged with Collecting $7,000 in Unemployment Benefits Using a Stolen SSN

Friday, September 20, 2013
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A New Haven man was arrested today and charged with collecting more than $7,000 in Unemployment Compensation benefits, including money he received by filing claims using another man’s Social Security number.

BOBBY JOE McKNIGHT, also known as BOBBY JOE McKENZIE, age 52, of 306 Dixwell Avenue, New Haven, was charged with two counts each of Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community and Unemployment Compensation Fraud, and one count of Identity Theft in the Third Degree.

The arrest is the result of an investigation conducted by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney following a complaint by the Connecticut Department of Labor.

According to the arrest warrant affidavit, McKnight fraudulently collected approximately $7,671 in Unemployment Benefits during several time periods in 2011 and 2012. It is alleged that some of the benefits were collected by McKnight when he was employed.

McKnight also fraudulently collected benefits using the Social Security number of another man who became aware of the fraud when his tax returns were intercepted by the Department of Labor, according to the warrant.

Unemployment benefits have been designated as economic support for individuals who have become unemployed through no fault of their own. The benefits are funded by employers doing business in Connecticut.

McKnight was arraigned today in New Britain Superior Court, G.A. No. 15, where bond was set at $10,000 and the case was continued until October 23, 2013.

The charges against McKnight are merely accusations and he is presumed innocent unless and until he is found guilty.

Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community is a class B felony punishable by not less than one year nor more than 20 years in prison and/or a $15,000 fine. Unemployment Compensation Fraud in excess of $500 and Identity Theft in the Third Degree are class D felonies each punishable by not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years in prison and/or a $5,000 fine.

The case is being prosecuted by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit, which was established under a partnership between the Division of Criminal Justice and the Department of Labor to investigate and prosecute alleged fraud in the unemployment compensation program. It is financed with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Labor. The unit is grateful for the assistance it received from the U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General.