Guardsman Who Worked in Federal Fraud Office Charged with Stealing $260,000 in Multiple Schemes

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Web pages used to show information for collecting unemployment insurance in Virginia, right, and reporting fraud and identity theft in Pennsylvania, are displayed on the respective state web pages, on Feb. 26, 2021, in Zelienople, Pennsylvania. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic, File)

A New Jersey National Guardsman who worked in the Department of Labor's inspector general's office has been indicted on allegations he defrauded the government, his wife and an insurance company out of more than $260,000, the Justice Department said this week.

Thomas Hartley, 48, of Henryville, Pennsylvania, has been charged with 18 counts related to allegations he lied to get a military housing allowance, unemployment and retirement benefits he was not entitled to, as well as an insurance payout, according to a Justice Department news release Wednesday.

The charges against him include wire fraud, mail fraud, theft of government funds and making false statements.

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A spokesperson for the New Jersey National Guard confirmed to on Thursday that Hartley is still a member of the service. His job at the Department of Labor, from which he was suspended because of the criminal investigation, was as a special agent in the inspector general's labor racketeering and fraud office.

Hartley was first charged in October 2020 on allegations he lied about where he lived to steal $23,580 from the Army in Basic Allowance for Housing benefits.

The new indictment filed Tuesday added allegations he lied about being unemployed to collect unemployment benefits, lied about being single to transfer retirement funds to a bank account in his name without his wife's consent, and lied about a car accident causing him to lose wages to collect on wage insurance.

According to the original indictment, Hartley started writing in 2018 on his Form 5960, the application for housing allowances, that his dependents lived in Shrewsbury, New Jersey, rather than in Pennsylvania, where he and his family actually lived. At the time, he was on leave from the Labor Department.

The allowance for New Jersey is higher than for Pennsylvania, which in 2018 translated to $1,503 more per month, according to the indictment.

The new indictment alleges he also collected $60,284 in unemployment benefits in Pennsylvania by falsely claiming he was unemployed when in fact he was working with the New Jersey National Guard on full-time active duty and was on military leave from his civilian job with the Department of Labor.

Hartley also allegedly transferred $127,000 from his Thrift Savings Plan, which is a government retirement plan, into a bank account solely in his name without his wife's knowledge or consent by falsely claiming he was not married, according to the indictment.

And he also allegedly collected about $50,000 from USAA Insurance after a car accident by saying the accident caused him to lose wages. In reality, according to the court filing, he had been suspended without pay from the Department of Labor because of the criminal probe he was already facing.

He is facing 12 counts of wire and mail fraud, each of which carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. The two theft charges have a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison each, and the four charges of false statements could mean up to five years in prison each.

-- Rebecca Kheel can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @reporterkheel.

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