Press Releases


State Police Charges Twenty-Four (24) with Fraudulent Collection of Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Contact: Captain Michael J. Winquist, Detective Commander Telephone: (401) 444-1008

Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent, of the Rhode Island State Police and Commissioner of Public Safety, announces that on Thursday, March 15, 2012, members of the Rhode Island State Police, assisted by the United States Marshals Service and local police officers from the Cities of Pawtucket and Warwick, and the Town of Johnston, arrested twenty-four (24) individuals for the felony offense of Obtaining Money Under False Pretenses Over $500.00.

The cases were referred to the Rhode Island State Police Detective Bureau by investigators from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Fraud Unit who had identified these individuals as falsely representing to the Department of Labor and Training that they were unemployed or under reported the wages they were receiving from their employer. By providing false information, these individuals collectively received $225,236 in unemployment benefits they were not entitled to.

The twenty-four (24) individuals arrested are identified as follows:

Jaime A. Martin, age 37, of 2 Thornton Avenue (Apartment 2), Smithfield, Rhode Island

Edward I. Wood, age 35, of 18 Lamphear Street, Coventry, Rhode Island

Donald S. Hughes, age 40, of 133 Longmeadow Avenue, Warwick, Rhode Island

Ryan D. Sousa, age 27, of 12 Clarendon Street, Gloucester. Massachusetts

Anthony B. Amaral, age 31, of 128 Martin Street, East Providence, Rhode Island

John W. Merritt, age 50, of 106 June Avenue, Warwick, Rhode Island

Zoewede T. Bright, age 26, of 155 Obed Avenue, North Providence,, Rhode Island

Matthew E. Silvia, age 50, of 29 Franklin Street, Warren, Rhode Island

Reynaldo V. Cockrum, age 37, of 41A West Main Road, Little Compton, Rhode Island

Rene H. Boudreault, age 48, of 853 Hope Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Julio N. Barros, age 55, of 98 Gano Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Heather A. Waldon, age 40, of 19 Chase Street (Apartment 3) Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Mary E. Tonucci, age 47, of 110 Oakdale Avenue, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Richard C. Daigle, age 47, of 273 Central Avenue, East Providence, Rhode Island

Larry Ashley , age 43, of 100 Donelson Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Leisa K. Smith, age 46, of 148 Veazie Street, Providence, Rhode Island

Jason Aponte , age 29, of 65 Hazelwood Street ( Apartment 5), Cranston, Rhode Island

Melissa L. Jackson, age 38, 215 Hanover Street,, Providence, Rhode Island

Robert J. Messier, age 31, of 35 Woodside Avenue, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Steven Berardinelli, age 57, of 78 Metcalf Street, Providence,, Rhode Island

Kristin O. Trexler, age 41, of 3 Alma Avenue, Bristol, Rhode Island

Peter J. Lombardi, age 62, of 5 Scenic Road, Johnston, Rhode Island

Vivian A. McSwain age 31, of 34 Armistice Boulevard, Pawtucket, Rhode Island

Daniel M. Salvas Jr., age 30, of 604 Providence Street, Woonsocket, Rhode Island

All of these individuals were transported to the Sixth Division District Court in Providence, arraigned before the Honorable Judge William Clifton, and released on $10,000 personal recognizance to appear for a pre-trial arraignment conference scheduled on May 17, 2012. If convicted, these individuals could be sentenced to imprisonment up to ten (10) years, fined up to five thousand dollars ($5,000), or both. Further arrests are anticipated.

These arrests are part of a continuing effort by the State Police and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to arrest individuals engaged in this type of criminal activity.

Colonel O'Donnell stated, "It's unfortunate that individuals continue to abuse unemployment insurance. These services are intended for our citizens in need.

Island State Police and the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, in a collaborative effort, will continue to aggressively and proactively seek out these offenders."

Governor Lincoln D. Chafee stated, "I applaud the State Police and the Department of Labor and Training for their continued efforts to crack down on unemployment insurance fraud. In these difficult times, when many Rhode Islanders are looking for work and resources are scarce, we need to ensure that those who truly need these benefits have access to them. That is why those who abuse the system must be identified and held accountable."

Department of Labor and Training Director Charles J. Fogarty stated, "We at the Department of Labor and Training applaud the excellent work of the Rhode Island State Police, and believe that our ongoing collaboration with law enforcement serves as an important deterrent to future unemployment insurance fraud." Director Fogarty requests that employers wishing to report unemployment insurance fraud contact the RI Department of Labor and Training Fraud Unit at (401) 462-1522.

Related links

  • Department or agency: Rhode Island State Police
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  • Release date: 03-15-2012

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