For Immediate Release - October 19, 2010

Canton Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Collecting More Than $11,000 in Unemployment Benefits While

BOSTON - A Canton man pled guilty in Boston Municipal Court in connection with collecting over $11,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

Joseph Walsh, age 49, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (20 counts), and Larceny Over $250. Following the change of plea, Boston Municipal Court Judge Sally Kelly sentenced Walsh to two years probation and ordered him to pay $11,115 in restitution.

"The unlawful collection of unemployment benefits undermines its true purpose, to assist those who have lost their jobs and are unable to obtain work," said AG Coakley. "These benefits exist to help those in need, not to supplement a full-time income. Our office is committed to prosecuting violators of the law and returning illegally obtained funds to the Commonwealth."

Walsh applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in January 2009, while separated from his employer and began receiving benefits from February 2009 through July 2009. During part of this time, Walsh was working full-time at a car dealership and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 20 weeks that Walsh collected unemployment benefits between February 2009 and July 2009, he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, and that he was able to work and was available for work. The fraudulent activities were initially detected by investigators from the EOLWD\DUA. Walsh collected fraudulent benefits totaling $11,115 while working and collecting. During the relevant time period, Walsh earned over $10,000 from his place of employment.

Walsh was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court on July 6, 2010 at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Walsh pled guilty yesterday and was ordered to pay restitution and serve probation.

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.

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. To date in 2010, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division has obtained over $600,000 in restitution orders in 24 matters.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General David Andrews of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Sallyann Nelligan of the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.