Essex County Mother and Daughter Convicted for Stealing Nearly $600,000 in Unemployment Benefits

February 20, 2014 · by rosenblumlawfirm · in

On December 20, 2013, Janice Allen, 57, and Janice Dilligard, 37, a mother and daughter from Newark, were convicted for filing false unemployment insurance fund claims and stealing a total of $585,304 from New Jersey’s Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. Specifically, the pair was convicted of second-degree conspiracy, second-degree theft by deception and second-degree financial facilitation, and possession of property derived from criminal activity. Allen was additionally convicted of third-degree theft by deception.

Following a three-week jury trial before Superior Court Judge Robert Billmeier in Mercer County, the jury found that between 2007 and 2010 Allen and Dilligard received unemployment benefits by filing false claims in the names of relatives and deceased persons. Allen and Dilligard kept the proceeds in numerous bank accounts, including internet bank accounts accessed by debit card.

Sentencing for Allen and Dilligard is scheduled for February 14, 2014. The pair risks facing a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $150,000 for each of their second-degree crimes. Allen also risks facing a maximum sentence of five years in state prison and a criminal fine of up to $15,000 for her third-degree crime.

In addition to Allen and Dilligard, five co-defendants were also indicted for their roles in the fraudulent scheme and all of those charges have been resolved. In a separate matter, Janice’s father Terry Dilligard Sr., 58, of Deland, Fla., her twin brother Terry E. Dilligard, 37, of Newark, and his ex-girlfriend, Monique Valentine, 35, of Roselle, were also indicted with defrauding the State of New Jersey of $1,489,411 in unemployment benefits. Valentine pled guilty on March 13, 2013 to charges of conspiracy and theft and now faces a five-year sentence, while the charges against the father and son pair are still pending.

The charges against the Dilligard clan and others are the result of “Operation Labor Day,” a joint investigation by the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and the New Jersey Department of Labor & Workforce Development to uncover unemployment benefit fraud. As part of a grander scheme to crack down on fraud, collaboration between the departments and unprecedented anti-fraud measures have, as of December 2013, prevented more than $330 million from being stolen from those for whom the funds are intended.