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Cumberland Woman Pleads to Unemployment Insurance Benefit Fraud

Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that Elizabeth Yankee (age 55), of Cumberland, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday 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. Yankee was sentenced to five years of probation and was ordered to pay $8,340 in restitution at a rate no less than $144 per month.

To date this year, the Office has resolved 40 cases and secured $557,796 in court-ordered restitution from those who were fraudulently collecting unemployment insurance benefits.

"Unemployment insurance benefits are often a lifeline to obtaining basic needs for individuals who find themselves unexpectedly out of work. While it is always preferable to resolve these cases before it comes to prosecution, we are fully prepared to move forward in court if need be to ensure the state's unemployment insurance trust fund remains solvent and available for those who legitimately file claims," said Attorney General Kilmartin.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on dates between October 3, 2009 and February 4, 2013, Yankee failed to accurately report her weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) when she called in to the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize her weekly unemployment benefits. While Yankee was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, she was working for Swissline Precision Manufacturing, Inc. and Trinity Health and Rehabilitation in Woonsocket, RI.

The case was initiated by RIDLT fraud investigators and then referred to the Rhode Island State Police where the investigation was led by Investigator Michael Douglas and prosecuted by Special Assistant Attorney General Carole McLaughlin of the Office of Attorney General.

The Office of Attorney General is assigned a prosecutor devoted exclusively to prosecuting fraud cases referred by the RIDLT involving unemployment insurance benefit 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 RIDLT and the Office of Attorney General.

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