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North Providence Woman Pleads to Unemployment Insurance Benefit Fraud

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Melody Vieira (age 48), of North Providence, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Superior Court Justice Daniel A. Procaccini to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $20,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while she was working.

Under the terms of the plea, Vieira was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to pay $20,947 restitution at a rate of no less than $100 per month.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between September 16, 2006 and August 15, 2011, Vieira 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 benefits. While Vieria was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, she was working for UTGR, Inc./ Twin River Casino in Lincoln, RI.

"For five years, this defendant fraudulently collected unemployment insurance benefits. Her actions were galling and illegal," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Individuals who think they can 'get away with it' or believe it's a victimless crime are sorely mistaken. In cases of unemployment insurance benefit fraud, the victims are business and taxpayers. And, as this and the more than 20 cases we have prosecuted this year shows, you will be caught and prosecuted."

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 has 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.

To date in 2016, the Office has prosecuted 25 individuals for unemployment insurance benefit fraud with court-ordered restitution of more than $285,000.

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