PA Prison Inmates Scamming Unemployment Benefits

by Alex Lloyd Gross

An investigation that started in Pittsburgh and is now going across Pennsylvania is focusing on people that have no business collecting unemployment benefits. They are not eligible for those benefits because they a condition of getting these benefits is that they must be available for work and looking for work, which they are not.  This investigation started with one inmate who was caught talking to a friend about cashing in $9,000 in pandemic relief.  According to reports, that inmate Lamont Wilford who is being held on a homicide charge.


The scam works like this. An inmate will have an outside contact set up a claim for them and keep filing for benefits. They person on the outside, who is doing this is then given a percentage.. It is not just Pennsylvania. In Maine, $200,000 was given to inmates who were laid off from work release jobs. That, believe it or not was legal because the state laid off the inmates.  Those payments have since been halted.

In Pennsylvania,  the investigation has been turned over to Federal Investigators with the Department of Labor. They are expected to launch a nationwide investigation.