A former employee of the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) has been sentenced to 21 months in federal prison for stealing unemployment funds.
Ambulai R. Sheku, 37, of Providence, a onetime senior employment interviewer with DLT, had entered a guilty plea to charges of conspiring to commit mail fraud, theft of government funds and accessing a government computer to commit fraud.
Shekeu acknowledged that between June 2009 and February 2015, he used his access to DLT computers and computer files to obtain unemployment benefits for himself and others. As part of the scheme Sheku changead the mailing addresses of legitimate unemployment insurance beneficiaries, causing banks to mail unemployment insurance to individuals not authorized to get benefits. In addition he caused fraudulent benefit claims.
This scheme resulted in a loss to DLT of about $508,691, about $350,606 were federal funds. The case was investigated by the U.S. Attorney’s office, the RI state police and the U.S. Department of Labor.
At sentencing, U.S. District Court Chief Judge William E. Smith also ordered Sheku to serve three years of supervised release after he completes his prison term and ordered him to pay $486,366 in restitution.