Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Keturah Bryan (age 36), of Hartford, CT, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for collecting more than $14,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while she was employed. Under the terms of the plea, Bryan was sentenced to five years of probation and ordered to pay $14,704 in restitution at a rate of no less than $254 per month.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between May 26, 2012 and October 12, 2013, Bryan failed to accurately report her weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) when she called into the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize her weekly unemployment benefits. While Bryan was collecting unemployment benefits she worked for seven different employers throughout the state of RI.
"Since the start of the year, our office has secured more than $138,000 in court-ordered restitution from individuals who committed unemployment insurance benefit fraud," said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. "We will continue to work with our partners at RIDLT and the State Police to root our fraud and abuse in the unemployment system and return stolen monies to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund."
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.