For Immediate Release - June 29, 2010

AG's Office Arraigns Seven People in Connection with Allegedly Collecting a Total of Over $100,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has arraigned seven individuals, who separately schemed to collect unemployment benefits fraudulently while continuing to work. In total, these individuals defrauded the Commonwealth of over $100,000 in benefits. The charges come as the result of investigations referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA).

THOMAS KELLEY

Thomas Kelley, age 55, of Medford, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (38 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts). According to authorities, Kelley applied for unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA in April 2006 while separated from his employer and began receiving benefits from April 2006 through September 2006. In January 2008, Kelley applied for unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA and began receiving benefits from February 2008 through January 2009. During the relevant time periods, Kelley was allegedly working for seven different employers and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 38 weeks that Kelley collected unemployment benefits between April 2006 and September 2006 and between February 2008 and January 2009, he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Kelley collected fraudulent benefits totaling over $22,000. During the relevant time period, Kelley allegedly earned over $41,526.40 from his various places of employment.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Kelley on June 10, 2010. Today, Kelley defaulted at his arraignment and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

GINA VALBRUN

Gina Valbrun, age 45, of Mattapan, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (27 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Valbrun applied for unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA in November 2007 while separated from her employer and began receiving benefits from November 2007 through June 2008. During part of this time, Valbrun was allegedly working full time as a patient representative at a Massachusetts hospital.

For each of the 27 weeks that Valbrun collected unemployment benefits between December 2007 and June 2006, she allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that she was not working, but that she was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Valbrun collected fraudulent benefits totaling $16,875 while working and collecting. During the relevant time period, Valbrun allegedly earned over $26,000 from her place of employment. A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Valbrun on June 10, 2010. Today, she was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Valbrun is due back in court on July 27, 2010 for a pre-trial conference.

RASHEEM MANSON

Rasheem Manson, age 28, of Rochester, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (43 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Manson applied for unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA in June 2008 while separated from his employer and began receiving benefits from June 2008 through May 2009. During part of this time, Manson was allegedly working full time as a residential counselor at a school and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 43 weeks that Manson collected unemployment benefits between August 2008 and May 2009, he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Manson collected fraudulent benefits totaling $22,053 while working and collecting. During the relevant time period, Manson allegedly earned over $19,000 from his place of employment.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Manson on June 10, 2010. He was arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court where he pled not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. He is due back in court on July 27, 2010, for a pre-trial conference.

CYNTHIA STONE

Cynthia Stone, age 48, of Shrewsbury, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (84 counts) and Larceny over $250 (3 counts). Authorities allege that Stone intentionally underreported wages she earned while being employed part time by a Shrewsbury transportation company. The EOLWD\DUA allows a claimant to work part time and make what the EOLWD\DUA defines as "partial earnings". A claimant can earn up to one third of her assigned benefit rate in partial earnings and still maintain her eligibility for unemployment benefits.

Investigators discovered that Stone began her underreporting scheme after she was initially laid off from her part-time job. Almost immediately after being laid off, Stone then began working for another local transportation company on a part time basis. However, during the period of time in which she worked part time, Stone allegedly underreported her earnings to the EOLWD\DUA in order to collect a higher unemployment benefit. Stone fraudulently collected over $16,000 in unemployment benefits during three distinct pay sequences by intentionally underreporting earnings that she generated as a result of being employed part time.

Today, Stone was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court where she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. She is due back in court on July 27, 2010, for pre-trial conference.

JOSEPH WALSH

Joseph Walsh, age 49, of Canton, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (20 counts) and Larceny over $250. In December 2008, Walsh became separated from his employer and began receiving benefits in January 2009. Several weeks after he began receiving benefits, Walsh obtained a new position, and during this time period, Walsh continued to collected unemployment assistance checks. Authorities allege that Walsh fraudulently collected over $11,000 from EOLWD\DUA in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled.

Today, Walsh defaulted at his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

DANIEL CHARRON

Daniel Charron, age 47, of New Bedford, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (11 counts) and Larceny over $250. Charron worked as a fisherman, and investigators discovered that he applied for and collected unemployment benefits when he was unable to obtain work. In November 2007, Charron applied for unemployment benefits after being laid-off by his employer. From November of 2007 through March of 2008, Charron legitimately received unemployment benefits. Investigators discovered that while he was collecting benefits, Charron worked periodically for another employer from the end of November 2007 through the end of March 2008. During the course of his work with his new employer, Charron collected over $5,000 in unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled. In order to obtain these benefits from the EOLWD\DUA, Charron allegedly signed 11 checks certifying on a weekly basis that he did not work or have any earnings. He also telephoned EOLWD\DUA on a weekly basis stating that he did not work or make any earnings during this time period.

Today, Charron defaulted at his arraignment in Boston Municipal Court and a warrant has been issued for his arrest.

SCOTT BALDWIN

Scott Baldwin, age 50, of Hampton, New Hampshire, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (17 counts) and Larceny over $250. In July 2008, Baldwin became separated from his employer and began collecting unemployment benefits in August 2008. Authorities allege that Baldwin fraudulently collected $10,200 in unemployment benefits for 17 weeks from August 2008 through November 2008. Baldwin allegedly reported to the EOLWD\DUA that he was eligible for unemployment benefits, when, in fact, he worked full-time for a construction services firm. Baldwin failed to appear for his arraignment today in Boston Municipal Court and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division works to protect consumers and the integrity of the insurance system by investigating and prosecuting those who commit fraud against all types of insurers, including the Commonwealth's unemployment insurance and workers' compensation system. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims. In Fiscal Year 2009, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division obtained over $2.6 million in restitution orders in 103 matters.

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.

The prosecutors assigned to these cases are Assistant Attorneys General Michael J. Walsh, David Andrews, Audrey Cosgrove and Steve Adams, all of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Luke Goldworm and Scott Gisetto of the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.

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