Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Michelle Dickens (age 47), of North Kingstown, RI, pleaded nolo contendere on Tuesday before Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $8,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while she was working.
Under the terms of the plea, Dickens was sentenced to seven and one half years probation and ordered to pay $8,961 restitution.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between June 30, 2012 and November 3, 2012, Dickens failed to accurately report her weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) when she called in to the DLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize her weekly unemployment insurance benefits. While Dickens was collecting unemployment benefits, she was employed by Coastal Medical, Inc. in Cranston, RI.
"Despite enhanced enforcement by the State, individuals continue to think they can get away with defrauding our unemployment insurance system. Yet, as this case proves, as well as the dozens others we have prosecuted, any attempt to do so will be detected, investigated and effectively prosecuted," said Attorney General Kilmartin.
The case was initiated by DLT fraud investigators 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.