Shaneesha White, 25, of Buffalo, Erie County, New York, United States has been arrested. She was charged with theft of government funds, fraud associated with disaster relief and wire fraud.
White was accused of stealing New York State unemployment insurance benefit payments. She allegedly used the money to pay for various expenses including cosmetic surgery, cosmetics, footwear and a trip to Florida, USA.
In October 2020, the New York State Department of Labor reported to the U.S. Department of Labor that a male federal prisoner was illegally receiving NYS unemployment insurance benefit payments. Special agents-in-charge Michael C. Mikulka, Todd Dennis and John F. Grasso led the investigation of the case.
During the investigation, Mikulka directed the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General and Office of Investigations-Labor Racketeering and Fraud, Dennis directed the U.S. Department of Homeland Security‘s Office of Inspector General and Grasso directed the U.S. Social Security Administration‘s Office of Inspector General. They discovered that the internet protocol (IP) address associated with the unemployment claim was also associated with multiple other claims, including White.
The investigators found Key Bank debit cards in the name of White and two others and a total of $48,833.15 was deposited onto the debit cards, which she controlled. She collected unemployment benefits using the names of the other two people.
The Buffalo resident told authorities that she knew those two people. She also said the received the information of the federal prisoner involved from his wife.
Bank videos showed White withdrawing money on all three cards, according to an affidavit filed by U.S. Department of Labor special agent Michael Nunziato. Investigators found that she used the cards to pay for cosmetics and make purchases at a smoke shop in Florida and for $5,500 worth of plastic surgery at a clinic in Miami, Florida.
On the afternoon of March 22, 2021, White appeared in court before U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder, Jr. She was released on conditions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.