| Statement on Sentencing of Ex-DLT Employee
For Theft of Unemployment Insurance Funds
April 3, 2017
CRANSTON, RI — Today in US District Court, Ambulai Sheku was sentenced on multiple counts of theft of Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits, computer fraud charges, and conspiring to commit mail fraud. Sheku worked in the UI Call Center from 2009 until 2015. UI managers detected discrepancies in claims that he had been handling during a regular quarterly audit conducted in February 2015. After a preliminary investigation by the UI Fraud Unit, DLT immediately turned the case over to the RI State Police for further investigation and Department of Labor and Training (DLT) Director Scott Jensen terminated Sheku later that month. The defendant pled guilty on Nov. 22, 2016. Jensen issued the following statement today:
“The evidence we found in February 2015 identifying possible wrongdoing in Unemployment Insurance claims handled by Ambulai Sheku hit us hard. We referred the case to the Rhode Island State Police immediately and fired him quickly. Although today Sheku has received a much-warranted jail sentence for his crimes, his brazen and illegal manipulation of procedures caused DLT to reassess and tighten all security measures that were in place in the call center, especially those related to claims filing and payment procedures. Sheku’s crimes were a selfish betrayal of our customers — the claimants who rely on benefits and the 33,000 Rhode Island employers that pay for UI — of the public, and of us, his DLT teammates, peers, and supervisors. DLT will continue to be vigilant in protecting the integrity of this vital safety net program.”
Pronunciation guide: Ambulai (am-bue-lie) Sheku (SHAY-ku)
About the RI Department of Labor and Training: The RI Department of Labor and Training (DLT) offers employment services, educational services, and economic opportunity 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. DLT’s Business Workforce Center simplifies doing business in RI by coordinating job fairs, pre-screening applicants, and connecting employers with innovative methods to remain or become competitive.