Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that two individuals have pleaded to unemployment insurance benefit fraud of more than $42,000.
Ashley Petrangelo (age 33), of Cranston, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Superior Court Justice Joseph A. Montalbano to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $12,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while she was employed. Petrangelo was sentenced to five years of probation and was ordered to pay $12,452 in restitution, of which she paid $2,000 on the day of the plea and ordered to pay the remaining balance at a rate of no less than $180 per month.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on dates between April 1, 2013 and December 31, 2013, Petrangelo failed to accurately report her weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) when she verified her wages via the internet to the RIDLT system to authorize her weekly unemployment benefits. While Petrangelo was collecting unemployment benefits, she was working for Frito Lay Sales, Northeast Region.
Charles Young (age 60), of Seekonk, MA, pleaded nolo contendere today before Justice Montalbano to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting nearly $30,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was employed. Young was sentenced to ten years of probation and ordered to pay $29,957 in restitution, at a rate of no less than $255 per month.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on dates between August 1, 2008 and October 31, 2014, Young failed to accurately report his weekly earnings to the RIDLT when he called in to the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize his weekly unemployment benefits. While Young was collecting unemployment benefits, he was employed with seven different companies.
"To date this year alone, my office has secured more than $200,000 in court-ordered restitution from individuals who thought they could get away with cheating the system," said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin. "These prosecutions help ensure the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and unemployment insurance benefits are available to those who legitimately need them."
The cases were initiated by RI DLT fraud investigators and then referred to the Rhode Island State Police where the investigations were led by Investigator Michael Douglas. Special Assistant Attorney General Carole L. McLaughlin prosecuted the cases 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.