For Immediate Release - June 25, 2009

East Freetown Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Collecting Over $18,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - An East Freetown man pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges he schemed to collect over $18,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work. Girard Pike, age 40, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (51 counts), and Larceny Over $250 (3 counts). Following the change of plea, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced Pike to three years probation and ordered him to pay restitution in the amount of $18,026.

Pike applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) on three separate occasions in December 2003, June 2005, and February 2007 while separated from his employer. During part of this time, Pike was employed by three different companies on diverse dates from March 2004 through June 2004, August 2005 through December 2005, and April 2007 through September 2007, and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 51 weeks that Pike collected unemployment benefits from March 2004 through September 2007, he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. The fraudulent activities were initially detected by investigators from the EOLWD\DUA. Pike collected fraudulent benefits totaling $18,026 while working and collecting.

Indictments were returned against Pike on February 26, 2009. Pike was arraigned on March 25, 2009, in Suffolk Superior Court at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Yesterday, Pike entered a change of plea in Suffolk Superior Court and was sentenced.

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 investigator Scott Gisetto of the Attorney General's Office and Mark St. Onge of EOLWD\DUA.