For Immediate Release - December 10, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Announce Arraignment of Peabody Man Charged with Allegedly Stealing Over $15,000 by Committing Unemployment Fraud

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced that a Peabody man was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday for allegedly stealing over $15,000 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled. Michael Doucette, age 42, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (25 counts) and Larceny over $250.

In March 2009 , the Attorney General's Office began an investigation after Doucette's alleged activities had been referred by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA). In September 2007, Doucette was laid off by his employer and began to legitimately collect unemployment benefits. However, soon after being laid off, Doucette began working full-time again in October 2007. Investigators discovered that during the period of October 2007 through early April 2008, Doucette informed the EOLWD/DUA that he had looked for work, that he was able and available to work and that he did not work. Based on these false statements, Doucette began to receive unemployment benefit checks to which he was not entitled. In total, authorities allege that Doucette received over $15,000 in unemployment benefits payments. After conducting their investigation, the EOLWD/DUA then referred the matter to the Attorney General's Office.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Doucette on October 15, 2009. Yesterday, he was arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. He is scheduled to appear in court on January 20, 2010, for a pre-trial conference.

The case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Cotter and was investigated by Luke Goldworm, both of Attorney General Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division, with assistance from investigator Mark St. Onge of EOLWD\DUA.