Attorney General Gurbir S. Grewal today announced that a Cumberland County man was indicted for allegedly stealing a total of $96,437 from New Jersey’s unemployment insurance trust fund.
Brian Peyton, 50, of Vineland, N.J., was indicted on Friday, Feb. 12, 2021, by a state grand jury on a charge of second-degree theft by deception. It is alleged that he knowingly filed multiple claims for unemployment insurance between July 2010 and January 2017, despite the fact that he was employed throughout that time period and not eligible to receive unemployment benefits. As a result of the alleged fraudulent claims, a total of $96,437 in unemployment benefits were direct-deposited into his personal bank account.
The indictment is the result of a cooperative investigation by the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, the U.S. Department of Labor-Office of Inspector General (U.S. DOL-OIG), and the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau.
Deputy Attorney General Brian Carney is prosecuting the case for the Division of Criminal Justice Specialized Crimes Bureau, under the supervision of Deputy Bureau Chief Valerie R. Butler and Bureau Chief Erik Daab. The lead detective for the Division of Criminal Justice is Detective Christine Sullivan. Attorney General Grewal thanked the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development and U.S. DOL-OIG for their partnership in the investigation.
As part of its vigorous fraud prevention efforts, the state Labor Department routinely shares information with the Division of Criminal Justice. The state Labor Department uses various tools to prevent fraudulent payments from ever being made, and to recover fraudulent payments when they do occur. This collaborative partnership has saved taxpayers more than $2 billion in the 11 months since COVID-19 drove up unemployment claims to record levels.
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $150,000. The indictment is merely an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty.
Defense Attorney: Assistant Deputy Public Defender Kimberly Schultz