Franklin County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office Secures Two Indictments Involving Theft of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Funds
Posted on 8/31/2023
Defendant: Tiffany Wilson, Erin McGoy, Lataska Minor, Nicy Minor, Aja Minor, Sherrod Thompson, Lasheta McClellan and Alana Hamilton
The Franklin County Grand Jury today returned two indictments in two separate cases involving theft of Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) funds.
In the first case, Tiffany Wilson, Erin McGoy, Lataska Minor, Nicy Minor, Aja Minor and Sherrod Thompson were indicted on 21 counts, including engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and telecommunications fraud, both first-degree felonies, theft felonies of the first, third and fourth degree, and tampering with records and money laundering, both third-degree felonies.
Wilson was a subcontractor for the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS). She was fired from her position but managed to access the computer system used to file PUA claims. She altered multiple claims by changing and deleting claims information, some of it on behalf of the others included in the indictment.
ODJFS noted irregular access to its system and reported it to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. The Highway Patrol began an investigation, aided by the U.S. Department of Labor, and determined the access was part of a scheme that defrauded the Ohio’s unemployment system of more than $5 million between November 2020 and June 2021.
In the second case, the grand jury indicted Lasheta McClellan and Alana Hamilton, a former ODJFS employee. The charges in the 19-count indictment include engaging in a pattern of corrupt activity and telecommunications fraud, both first-degree felonies; theft, a second-degree felony; tampering with records and money laundering, a third-degree felony; and filing incomplete, false, and fraudulent tax returns, a fifth-degree felony.
The actions of McClellan and Hamilton also involved altering multiple claims for PUA funds. In addition, McClellan and Hamilton are accused of using false information to file the claims. After ODJFS noticed suspicious activity by Hamilton, they reported the potential issue to the Ohio Inspector General’s Office, the Ohio State Highway Patrol and the Department of Labor, which all began an investigation and determined the scheme defrauded Ohio’s unemployment system of more than $4 million from May 2020 to October 2021.
“These white-collar criminals were cheating the system, stealing millions of dollars from a program that was established to help honest, hardworking Ohioans, people who really needed these unemployment funds during the pandemic,” said Anthony Pierson, deputy chief prosecuting attorney for Franklin County. "This should be a reminder that if you’re caught stealing, you will be held accountable for your actions and prosecuted.”
Jeff Blake and Jason Moore, both assistant prosecuting attorneys in the Economic Crimes Unit, presented the cases to the grand jury.