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Labor Department fires fugitive who was processing unemployment claims

ALBANY — Officials at the state Department of Labor on Monday terminated a fugitive with a lengthy criminal history, including arrests for identification theft, who had been among hundreds of clerks hired since March to help process unemployment claims.

The fired clerk, Brian D. Sasson, was hired as a $17.61-per-hour “senior employment security clerk” on July 20 and had been working in the department’s telephone call center at the Harriman office complex, according to records on file with the state comptroller’s office.

The termination of someone employed by a government agency is a matter of public record under state law. Still, Peter Brancato, a spokesman for the Department of Labor declined to comment, saying the department “does not comment on any personnel matters.”

Sasson could not be reached for comment.

His termination, which was confirmed by sources in the department, came a day after the Times Union published a story revealing his criminal history and that highlighted what employees in the department characterized as a loosening of the verification process to approve more than 3 million unemployment claims since the coronavirus pandemic struck New York earlier this year. The story also noted that no background checks were conducted on the hastily hired clerks …read more

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