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North Providence Woman Pleads to Unemployment Insurance Benefit Fraud

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Vera Hunte (age 50), of North Providence, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Providence Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $10,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while she was employed. Hunte was sentenced to seven years probation and ordered to pay $10,180 in restitution at a rate of no less than $125 per month.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between May 1, 2007 and September 3, 2013, Hunte failed to accurately report her weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training when she called in to the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize her weekly unemployment benefits. While Hunte was collecting unemployment benefits she was working for Sodexho Education Services.

The case was initiated by RI-DLT fraud investigator Claribel Terrero 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.

"Since March, unemployment insurance benefit fraud pleas have resulted in nearly $120,000 in court-ordered restitution, and more than $500,000 since we initiated this program and assigned a dedicated prosecutor to handle these cases," said Attorney General Kilmartin.

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.

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