Statement Concerning Arraignment of Ex-DLT Employee Accused of Theft of Unemployment Insurance Funds
October 13, 2016
CRANSTON, RI — Department of Labor and Training Director Scott Jensen released the following statement today concerning the Federal Court arraignment of Ambulai Sheku, 37, of Providence. A DLT employee who worked in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) Call Center from 2009 until 2015, Sheku is accused of multiple counts of fraudulently obtaining UI benefits. Managers in the UI division detected discrepancies during a routine quarterly audit on Feb. 13, 2015, and connected them to Sheku. Jensen terminated Sheku later that month.
“Just over a month into this administration, DLT found evidence of wrongdoing in claimant accounts in our UI Call Center and connected it to the defendant,” Jensen said. “Investigating further, we turned over the case to the Rhode Island State Police and fired Mr. Sheku. Ultimately, the US Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General led the investigation, ably assisted by the State Police and DLT Fraud Unit, that resulted in today’s announcement of multiple counts of theft and fraud. The defendant knew the UI program and exploited it. The amount of funds he allegedly stole is sickening. In the year and a half since we fired him, DLT has improved management oversight of all areas of Call Center activity, particularly related to claims filing and payment procedures. As well, we have restricted Call Center employee access to UI claim payment computer screens, which the State Bureau of Audits identified as an area of vulnerability and whose recommendation we were glad to implement. We spotted this alleged criminality and immediately involved law enforcement. We think that one case of theft is one too many. With our new security measures in place, we will continue to be vigilant in protecting the integrity of this vital safety net program, which is relied on by thousands of Rhode Island workers and funded by tens of thousands of Rhode Island employers.”
ABOUT DLT: The RI Department of Labor and Training offers employment services, educational services and economic opportunities to both individuals and employers. DLT protects Rhode Island’s workforce by enforcing labor laws, prevailing wage rates and workplace health and safety standards. The department also provides temporary income support to unemployed and temporarily disabled workers. For more information, please call the RI Department of Labor and Training at (401) 462-8000 or visit the web site at www.dlt.ri.gov.