Skiptracer Sentenced to Prison for Using Unemployment Insurance Applications to Obtain POE

A skiptracer that worked as part of a ring that obtained place-of-employment information about individuals with unpaid debts by pretending to be the debtors and created thousands of unemployment insurance applications to learn their last know place of employment has been sentenced to 45 months in prison following a five-day trial.

Guy Cuomo, also known as John Monaco, worked for and managed companies owned by Jason “J.R.” Trowbridge, including one called Paymerica Corp. Members of the skiptracing ring would pretend to be the debtor and file the unemployment insurance applications using the personal information of the debtors, including their Social Security numbers. At some point, the application would list the last-known place of employment and ask for confirmation. The members of the ring would then confirm the individual was still working for that employer and then sell the information for $90 per debtor. The company made nearly $1 million in three years selling information this way. The scheme involved attempting to obtain information for as many as 200,000 people from all 50 states and that the company sold place-of-employment information for at least 12,000 people from 40 states.

To cover their tracks, the conspirators would use virtual private networks to mask their IP addresses to avoid being caught. Monaco was accused of committing computer fraud, misuse of a Social Security number, aggravated identity theft, and related conspiracy charges for selling information that was unlawfully obtained from the New York State Department of Labor.

Earlier this year, Trowbridge was sentenced to 39 months in prison and forfeited nearly $450,000 in assets as part of a plea agreement. Five others have also pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing.

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