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Sound Bites: Connecticut unemployment fraud soars

The American Job Center in Hamden, CT.
Molly Ingram
The American Job Center in Hamden, CT.

Happy Saturday! Connecticut’s Department of Labor is being overrun with false unemployment claims. According to the department, up to 75% of claims submitted each day are fake. The CTDOL is receiving thousands of claims per day, most of which are submitted using stolen identities purchased online. 

Victims of identity fraud in the case of unemployment receive monetary determination letters. If you receive one, report it immediately to the CTDOL. 

Here’s a bite-sized look at what else we are hearing:

Stone Academy students are facing another setback. An audit has revealed that many of their credits are invalid, meaning they will have to retake classes to get their degrees. According to the audit, 76% of clinical hours were not properly documented and therefore do not count toward a degree. State officials say they will repay students for those classes, a bill that amounts to more than $260,000.

Investigators continue to dig for evidence in the Gilgo Beach killings. According to Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney, investigators are searching for forensic evidence that could further implicate suspect Rex A. Heuermann, who was arrested in connection with the murders last Thursday.

Connecticut high schoolers will get financial management training soon. Gov. Ned Lamont (D) has signed legislation that requires students to complete a half-credit course in personal financial management. The requirement begins with the class of 2027, who will start their freshman year this fall.

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) wants to ban stock trading and ownership for members of Congress. Gillibrand said it’s in an effort to create more transparency and ensure elected officials are putting their constituents, and not their own finances, first.

Bankrupt proceedings will remain against the Diocese of Rockville Centre. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Martin Glenn delivered the blow to clergy sexual abuse survivors, who wanted the church to stand in state court for trials and potential payouts. The diocese declared bankruptcy three years ago and is yet to make a settlement deal with survivors.

A Fairfield man who went viral for a smoothie shop outburst has been accused of financial fraud. James Iannazzo threw things and yelled at teenagers working at Fairfield Robeks because of an allergic reaction his son had to a smoothie. He was fired from his job at Merrill Lynch in 2022 after being arrested for the incident. A federal securities watchdog agency accused Iannazzo of failing to file currency transaction reports.

UConn has settled with a former athlete who lost a scholarship for behavior misconduct. Noriana Radwan was 18 when she flipped off an ESPNU camera during the 2014 American Athletic Conference title game. Radwan said the action was free speech and claimed she was punished harsher than male athletes in the program. Radwan was awarded $46,000, the cost of her student debt from Hofstra, which she transferred to after she lost her scholarship.

Suffolk County will replace large-scale cesspool systems in county parks. It’s part of a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency, which claimed the county was in violation of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. Large-scale cesspool systems were supposed to be replaced by 2005 — but there are still almost 50 in the county.

A veteran Connecticut state trooper has been suspended for submitting incorrect traffic tickets. Gov. Ned Lamont said Christopher Melanson incorrectly listed many drivers as Native American when they were not. Melanson, who joined the force in 2006, is on administrative leave.

Two former Holbrook residents are suing a Long Island memorial chapel for burying the wrong body. Two sisters claim Star of David Memorial Chapels in West Babylon insisted the body they were burying belonged to their father, despite their disagreement. The unidentified man was buried in a family plot at Mount Ararat Cemetery in Lindenhurst before a South Carolina funeral home, who had shipped the body, notified Star of David of the mistake.

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Molly is a reporter covering Fairfield County. She also produces Long Story Short, a podcast exploring public policy issues across Connecticut.