Caregiver Pleads Guilty to Stealing Personal Info for Unemployment Benefits

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DELAWARE COUNTY, PA — Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced that a Delaware County caregiver pleaded guilty Wednesday to stealing the personal identifying information of several intellectually disabled people in his care to fraudulently apply for and receive thousands of dollars in Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) funding.

Nelson Fornah, who worked for a home healthcare company, was charged following a grand jury investigation, for using the stolen and false information of seven disabled clients in his care to obtain $89,418.82 PUA funds.

“This individual abused his position as a caregiver to take advantage of adults with disabilities, while stealing thousands of dollars specified to assist Pennsylvanians who were truly in need” said AG Shapiro. “My office continues to work to ensure people like this defendant are held accountable when they undermine the public by breaking the law and committing fraud.”

Beginning in June 2020, Fornah fraudulently obtained PUA funds by using clients’ personal information on applications. He is recorded verifying their information through video ID.me sessions where the victims appear on screen, mostly in the background, and Fornah is off camera speaking for the individuals and showing the required identification information in front of the camera.

Fornah also fraudulently applied for and was denied PUA benefits using his own information though records confirm he was fully employed prior to and through the pandemic. Following this rejection by the PA L&I, he lied about his employment status to apply for the standard PA unemployment compensation benefits and received more than $14,000 as a result.

The Office of the Attorney General investigated this case with the assistance of the United States Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the United States Postal Service Office of Inspector General, and the United States Social Security Administration Office of Inspector General.

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Fornah entered a guilty plea to the charges of Theft, Theft by Deception, ID Theft, and Dealing in Unlawful Proceeds. Sentencing is scheduled for November 7, 2022. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Deputy Attorney General Megan Madaffari.

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