For Immediate Release - December 30, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Announces Guilty Plea and Sentence of a Boston Woman for Collecting Over $11,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - Today, a Boston woman pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court on charges she schemed to collect over $11,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work. Chantelle Conti, age 39, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (22 counts), and Larceny Over $250. Following the change of plea, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced Conti to one year probation and ordered her to pay $11,571 in restitution. Conti must also perform 100 hours of community service and submit to random drug and alcohol screens.

Conti applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in March 2006 while separated from her employer and began receiving benefits from March 2006 through September 2006. During part of this time, Conti was working for a software company and failed to disclose her full-time employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 22 weeks that Conti collected unemployment benefits from May 2006 through September 2006, she notified the EOLWD\DUA that she was not working, but that she was able to work and was available for work. The fraudulent activities were initially detected by investigators from the EOLWD\DUA. Conti collected fraudulent benefits totaling $11,571 while working and collecting.

Indictments were returned against Conti on April 9, 2009. Conti was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on April 24, 2009, at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Today, Conti entered a change of plea to guilty and was sentenced in Suffolk Superior Court.

To report unemployment fraud to the EOLWD\DUA, call the agency's toll free fraud hotline at 1-800-354-9927 anytime, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.

Assistant Attorney General Jeremy Eisemann of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division prosecuted this case with assistance from investigators from the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge of EOLWD\DUA.