For Immediate Release - May 18, 2010

Brockton Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced on Charges He Collected More Than $12,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - A Brockton man pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges he schemed to collect over $12,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced. Rodrigue Raymond, age 45, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud and Larceny Over $250. Following the change of plea, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced Raymond to six months in the House of Correction, suspended for two years during which time Raymond will be on probation. Judge Ball also ordered Raymond to pay $12,178 in restitution.

"Unemployment assistance provides valuable and necessary support particularly for those affected by these tough economic times," said AG Coakley. "Our office will continue to aggressively investigate and prosecute those individuals who abuse this system for their own benefit."

Raymond applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in April 2007 while separated from his employer and began receiving benefits from May 2007 through November 2007. During part of this time, Raymond was working full-time as a mechanic in Newton, MA, and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 26 weeks that Raymond collected unemployment benefits between May 2007 and November 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. Raymond collected fraudulent benefits totaling $12,428 while working and collecting. During this time period, Raymond also earned over $19,000 from his place of employment.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Raymond on September 24, 2009. Raymond was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on October 14, 2009, at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Raymond entered a change of plea and was sentenced yesterday.

Attorney General Martha 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 case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Michael J. Walsh of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators from the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.