Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that two individuals pleaded nolo contendere recently to unemployment insurance benefit fraud with court-ordered restitution in excess of $17,000.
"This year to date, our office has successfully prosecuted nearly 30 cases of unemployment insurance fraud and secured court-ordered restitution of approximately $340,000," said Attorney General Kilmartin. "Some people may think that unemployment insurance fraud is a victimless crime and that authorities won't go after those who commit it. These cases, and the many others we have successfully prosecuted, should be a stark warning to anyone considering attempting to commit unemployment insurance fraud; it will be discovered, investigated, and prosecuted."
Amanda Jackson (age 37), of Harrisville, pleaded nolo contendere today before Providence Superior Court Judge Netti C. Vogel to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $11,000 unemployment insurance benefits while she was working. Under the terms of the plea, Jackson was sentenced to five years probation ordered to pay $11,064 restitution at a rate of no less than $191 per month.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between August 1, 2008 and August 31, 2011, Jackson failed to accurately report her weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RI DLT) when she called in to the RI DLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize her weekly unemployment benefits. While Jackson was collecting unemployment benefits, she was working for George V. Picard, D.M.D, in Woonsocket, and MLC Enterprises, LLC, d/b/a New England Farms of RI, in Harrisville.
Natasha Alvarez (age 29), of Pawtucket, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Providence Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke to obtaining money under false pretenses for collecting $6,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while she was employed. In consideration of paying the full amount of restitution at the time of the plea, Alvarez received a one-year filing.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between June 30, 2012 and January 19, 2013, Alvarez under-reported her weekly earnings to the RI DLT when she verified her wages through the internet to the RI DLT to authorize her weekly unemployment benefits. While Alvarez was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, she was working for Rhode Island Hospital located in Providence, RI.
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.