Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin joined Rhode Island State Police Colonel Steven O'Donnell and RI Department of Labor and Training (RI-DLT) Director Charles J. Fogarty to announce that former RI-DLT employee Ruth Rosa-Rios, age 43, with a last known address of 136 Windmill Avenue, Providence, RI pled nolo contendere today before Superior Court Associate Justice Brian Van Couyghen to accessing a computer for fraudulent purposes, obtaining money under false pretense and conspiracy.
Under the terms of the plea agreement, Rosa-Rios was sentenced to 10 years, with one year to serve on home confinement and the remainder suspended with probation, and was ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $25,472.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Ruth Rosa-Rios was a 14-year employee of the RI-DLT where she worked as a Benefits Claim Specialist and was responsible for making decisions regarding unemployment insurance benefit applications. On numerous occasions between the dates of April 1, 2011 and September 30, 2011, Rosa-Rios accessed her work computer and the computers of her colleagues to fraudulently authorize weekly unemployment insurance benefits to be paid to her husband and alleged co-conspirator Jose D. Rios, which he was not entitled to receive. The duplicate payments were detected by RI-DLT staff, at which time the Rhode Island State Police were contacted.
"Today's plea agreement is a result of state agencies and law enforcement working together to root out fraud and abuse in our unemployment insurance system. The partnership between the Office of Attorney General, the Department of Labor and Training and the Rhode Island State Police to investigate and prosecute unemployment insurance fraud has produced significant results, recovering tens of thousands in restitution from individuals who abused the system," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "While our elected leaders in Washington continue to battle over extending benefits for the long-term unemployed, it is our responsibility on the state level to ensure that those benefits are being used for the intended purpose:; to help those in need, not to line the pockets of corrupt public employees."
Colonel Steven O'Donnell added, "This plea holds the Rios's accountable for manipulating the system to benefit herself and her husband. The State Police is committed along with the Attorney General's Office and the Department of Labor and Training to uncover fraud and prosecutor those who chose to take advantage of a vital program."
"We hold our employees to the highest ethical standards and violations of the public trust will not be tolerated," said Director Fogarty."The overwhelming majority of our staff are hardworking and dedicated individuals, it's unfortunate that the actions of this individual cloud that good work."
The case against Jose D. Rios is pending with a status conference scheduled for February 6, 2014.
The investigation was led by Rhode Island State Police Detective Sergeant Christopher J. Dicomitis of the Rhode Island State Police Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Unit. Special Assistant Attorney General Genevieve Allaire Johnson prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General and the State of Rhode Island. Funded by RI-DLT, Allaire Johnson prosecutes all unemployment insurance fraud, worker's compensation fraud, prevailing wage violations and labor standards fraud cases.