Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin and Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training Director Charles J. Fogarty today announced two plea agreements in unemployment insurance fraud cases.
Jaime Martin (age 39), with a last known address of 2 Thorton Avenue, Smithfield, RI, pleaded nolo contendere on Wednesday before Providence Superior Court Justice Daniel A. Procaccini to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for collecting nearly $13,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was employed. Additionally, Anthony Amaral (age 33), with a last known address of 292 Pleasant Street, East Providence, RI, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Providence Superior Court Justice Stephen P. Nugent to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for collecting over $12,000 in unemployment benefits while he was employed.
Martin was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay full restitution, in the amount of $12,869 to the State of Rhode Island, at the time of sentencing.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2011, Martin failed to report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) while he was working at various employers including Cardi Corporation, Capital Convention Contractors, Demers Exposition Services, Atlas Scaffolding, Spectacor Management Group/Rhode Island Convention Center, Global Experience Specialists, Freeman, Brede Exposition Services/Casey & Hayes, Special Event Rentals, Champion Exposition, Dame Associates and National Convention Exserv Inc. During this time period he was also collecting unemployment insurance.
Amaral was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay full restitution, in the amount of $12,363, to the State of Rhode Island.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that between June 10, 2006 and May 8, 2010, Amaral failed to report his weekly earnings to the RIDLT while he was employed for many weeks on a full-time basis at A.P. Leitao & Sons Landscaping, Inc.
Martin and Amaral were required to report any earnings when they called the RIDLT Teleserve automated payment system each week to certify for their weekly unemployment insurance payments using their personal pin numbers.
The department discovered both defendants' failure to report earnings by cross-matching its unemployment insurance database with RI wage records and the National Directory of New Hires. To combat fraud, RIDLT also maintains a tip line at (401) 462-1522 where the public can report benefits fraud anonymously.
"Rhode Island currently has one of the highest unemployment rates in the county, and unemployment insurance can be a lifeline for struggling families. It is imperative that these benefits are getting to the people who are entitled to them," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "At the same time, we will not tolerate individuals who try to defraud the system. The Office Attorney General will continue to work closely with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training and the Rhode Island State Police to ensure that those who try to cheat the system are held accountable."
"Unemployment Insurance provides critical support to thousands of Rhode Islanders who are actively seeking work," said Charles J. Fogarty, director of the RI Department of Labor and Training. "We work diligently to root out those who are abusing this valuable program."
Rhode Island State Police Detective Staci K. Shepherd of the Computer Crimes Unit led the investigation in the case of Jaime Martin, and Rhode Island State Police Detective John Alfred of the Computer Crimes Unit led the investigation in the case of Anthony Amaral. Special Assistant Attorney General Genevieve Allaire Johnson prosecuted the cases on behalf of the Office of Attorney General and the State of Rhode Island. Funded by RIDLT, Allaire Johnson prosecutes all unemployment insurance fraud, worker's compensation fraud, prevailing wage violations and labor standards fraud cases on behalf of RIDLT.