For Immediate Release - May 11, 2010

Falmouth Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Collecting More Than $26,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - A Falmouth man pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court to charges he schemed to collect over $26,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office announced. Paul DiMestico, age 39, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud and Larceny Over $250. Following the change of plea, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball sentenced DiMestico to six months in the House of Correction.

"Unemployment assistance provides a 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."

DiMestico applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in February 2008 and began receiving benefits from February 2008 through January 2009. During this time, DiMestico was working full-time as a recovery aide at an addiction treatment center, and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.

For each of the 47 weeks that DiMestico collected unemployment benefits between the months of February 2008 through January 2009, 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. DiMestico collected fraudulent benefits totaling $26,542 while working and collecting. During the relevant time period, DiMestico earned over $28,000 from his place of employment.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against DiMestico on September 24, 2009. DiMestico 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. DiMestico entered a change of plea to guilty and was sentenced yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court.

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.

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.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Pakstis of Attorney General Martha 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.