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June 12, 2013

Former Long Beach City Councilman Sentenced to 30 Days in Jail for Receiving Improper Unemployment Benefits

Jury convicted Fagen of 18 felonies for failing to report salary he received as elected official

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced today that former Long Beach City Councilman Michael Fagen has been sentenced to 30 days in jail after being convicted by a jury of filing for unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled.

Fagen, 56, of Long Beach, was convicted of 18 counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree, and one misdemeanor count of Petit Larceny in February. Judge Meryl Berkowitz also sentenced Fagen to five years of probation and ordered him to pay full restitution. The DA’s Office recommended a six-month jail sentence. Fagen was removed from office after his conviction.

Rice said that Fagen began receiving $405 per week in Unemployment Insurance Benefits from the New York State Department of Labor (DOL) in September 2009. In November 2009, Fagen was elected to a four-year term as a Long Beach city councilman, a full-time position, and began receiving a yearly salary of $19,828 upon his inauguration in January 2010.

Fagen failed to disclose his government employment to the DOL, as well as his employment as a salesman for a hotel membership benefits company while continuing to receive undeserved unemployment benefits. After his inauguration, he falsely certified that he was unemployed to the DOL.

“Mr. Fagen was trusted by the people of Long Beach to represent their interests, yet he violated that trust with every unemployment check he cashed,” Rice said. “My office will continue to hold accountable those public officials who think they can line their pockets at the expense of the very people they represent.”

The investigation of this case was jointly conducted by the District Attorney’s Office and the New York State Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations following notification by the City of Long Beach.

Chief Marshall Trager and Assistant District Attorney William Jorgenson of the Government & Consumer Frauds Bureau are prosecuting the case for the DA’s Office. Fagen is represented by Marc Gann, Esq.