For Immediate Release - September 14, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Announces That a Springfield Woman Was Ordered to Pay Full Restitution in Connection with Collecting Over $11,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announces that a Springfield woman was ordered to pay full restitution in the amount of $11,037 in connection with collecting unemployment benefits while working. Lori Watson, age 39, admitted to sufficient facts in Boston Municipal Court to charges of Unemployment Fraud (13 counts), and Larceny Over $250. While the Commonwealth requested that the court find the defendant guilty, Boston Municipal Court Judge Thomas Horgan ordered Watson to pay full restitution in the amount of $11,037. Under the terms of the finding, Watson will serve a probationary term of five years and is ordered to pay a minimum of $160 per week in restitution.

Watson applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in October 2006, while separated from her employer, and began receiving benefits from October 2006 through May 2007. During part of this time, Watson was working full-time for a medical staffing network company and failed to disclose her employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 19 weeks that Watson collected unemployment benefits from December 2006 through April 2007, 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. Watson collected fraudulent benefits totaling $11,037 while working and collecting.

Watson was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on May 1, 2009, at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Watson admitted to sufficient facts on September 11, 2009, in Boston Municipal Court and made an initial restitution payment of $1,500. Violation of the terms of probation will automatically result in a guilty finding.

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 Luke Goldworm of the Attorney General's Office and Mark St. Onge of EOLWD\DUA.