DETROIT – Jermaine Rose, a former direct claims examiner for the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency (MUIA), has been handed a two-decade sentence in federal prison today as a consequence of his involvement in a pandemic-related unemployment insurance fraud scheme amounting to $1.5 million. The announcement was made by United States Attorney Dawn N. Ison.
The press release was accompanied by Irene Lindow, Special Agent-in-Charge of the Chicago Area in the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General, and John Marengo, Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service’s Detroit Field Office.
Jermaine Rose pleaded guilty on April 22, 2022, to a single count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud in connection to his role in a widespread fraudulent scheme aimed at providing his co-conspirators with pandemic unemployment insurance benefits they were not eligible for.
United States Attorney Ison commented, “Corrupt public servants compromise the government’s ability to function effectively and erode confidence in all public programs. This prosecution demonstrates the gravity with which my office addresses corruption and fraud in the public sector, as well as our commitment to prosecuting those who exploited a national crisis to defraud the public.”
As a former State of Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency direct claims examiner, Jermaine Rose abused his position to facilitate over $920,000 in fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims. Rose utilized his authority to approve claims in exchange for kickbacks from his co-conspirators.
Special Agent-in-Charge Irene Lindow, Chicago Area, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, emphasized, “Jermaine Rose, while employed as a direct claims examiner at the MUIA, misused his authority to allow the payment of more than $920,000 in fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistance claims. Rose exploited his role to authorize payment on the claims in return for kickbacks from his co-conspirators. We will continue to collaborate with our law enforcement and state partners to investigate those who exploit the unemployment insurance system.”
Court documents reveal that during April 2020, when Rose worked as a direct claims examiner for MUIA, he had digital access to the agency’s claims database. Rose’s position granted him the capability to access and approve certain UI claims submitted to the agency.
Beginning around April 2020, Rose entered into an agreement with multiple individuals to defraud MUIA by obtaining UI benefits through false claims. Co-conspirators submitted fraudulent claims electronically in the names of various individuals, some of whom were victims of identity theft and others were entirely fictitious. The co-conspirators fabricated information in the applications to attest to the eligibility of these supposed claimants, often providing fabricated documentation to support these false claims. The co-conspirators then liaised with Rose, either directly or through intermediaries, to identify the claims they had submitted. Rose would then use his insider access to the MUIA system to approve the claims and release benefits. Typically, benefits were loaded onto Bank of America debit cards and sent to addresses controlled by Rose’s co-conspirators. Rose was regularly compensated for his services, often receiving amounts ranging from $50 to $150 per claim he processed.
Although some individuals approached Rose with legitimate UI claims, working with him only to expedite benefits, many of Rose’s co-conspirators submitted fraudulent UI claims in bulk. In his plea agreement, Rose acknowledged that he was fully aware that many of the claims he approved were fraudulent.
While exact loss figures related to Rose’s criminal scheme are challenging to provide, conservative estimates suggest the actual loss in this case is approximately $1,011,000.
The prosecution of the case is led by Assistant United States Attorneys John K. Neal and Alyse Wu. The investigation is a collaborative effort between the Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and the Secret Service, with significant support from the Michigan Unemployment Insurance Agency.