Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Brent Paquin (age 37), of Providence, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for collecting more than $9,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was employed. Under the terms of the plea, Paquin was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $9,706 in restitution at a rate of no less than $168 per month.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between June 2, 2012 and April 17, 2013, Paquin failed to accurately report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) when he called into the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize his weekly unemployment benefits. While Paquin was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, he was employed by Nolin Electric, Inc., and Capriccios Restaurant.
"We will continue to prosecute those individuals who fraudulently collect unemployment insurance benefits when they are employed. The system is designed to assist those who are unemployed and underemployed, not for those who knowingly collect benefits they are not entitled to," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
The case was initiated by RI DLT fraud investigators and then referred to the Rhode Island State Police where the investigation was led by Investigator Michael Douglas. Special Assistant Attorney General Carole L. McLaughlin prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.
The Office of Attorney General is assigned a prosecutor devoted exclusively to prosecuting fraud cases referred by the RI DLT involving unemployment insurance benefits fraud, workers' compensation fraud, prevailing wage violations, and labor standards violations. The prosecutor in this position is solely responsible for screening, charging, prosecuting, tracking, and reporting case results to RI DLT and the Office of Attorney General.
In 2016, the State successfully prosecuted 34 individuals for unemployment insurance benefit fraud, with court-ordered restitution of approximately $465,000.