Seventeen Long Islanders face fraud charges, accused of collecting unemployment benefits while they held jobs and taking some $270,000 from the system, Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said Thursday.
One defendant had collected more than $50,000 in benefits dating back to 2007, officials said. If convicted, each could face up to 7 years in prison.
Those arrested -- 11 men and six women -- worked in various professions and trades, a spokesman for the district attorney said.
Fifteen of the defendants reside in Nassau; one is from Suffolk; and one, who is formerly from Valley Stream, now lives in Florida.
Their arrests, which occurred between Nov. 18 and Dec. 5, were the result of a joint investigation between Rice's office and the New York State Department of Labor.
"Unemployment insurance is meant to help honest workers get through hard times while they look for jobs, but these defendants are charged with abusing that trust and assistance by cheating the system," Rice said in a statement. "Thankfully the Department of Labor caught the scams, and we'll work together to prosecute these cases and return fairness to New York taxpayers."
Assistant District Attorney William Jorgenson is prosecuting the case under the supervision of Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau Chief Marshall Trager in Rice's office.