For Immediate Release - June 09, 2010

Former Springfield Public School Teacher Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Fraudulently Collecting Over $22,000 in Disability Benefits While Working

SPRINGFIELD - A Connecticut man pled guilty in Hampden Superior Court to charges he schemed to fraudulently collect over $22,000 in disability benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today. Jimmie Jacques DeVone, age 54, of West Hartford, pled guilty to the charge of Insurance Fraud. Following the change of plea, Hampden Superior Court Judge C.J. Moriarty sentenced DeVone to two years probation and ordered him to pay $22,135.60 in restitution.

"It's troubling that in this tough economy, healthy individuals continue to take advantage of a system well beyond its intended use," said AG Coakley. "Insurance fraud is a serious crime which can lead to premium increases for employers already struggling to stay in business. Our office is committed to investigating and holding accountable individuals who violate the system."

DeVone applied for Short Term Disability (STD) and Long Term Disability (LTD) insurance in April 2001, while working as a Springfield public school teacher. DeVone was approved for STD in May 2004 and then LTD in August 2004 by his employer's insurance company. In July 2006, DeVone informed his insurer that he would be returning to work in October 2006. As a result, DeVone was sent a lump sum payment to close his account.

In October 2006, however, DeVone requested that his LTD claim continue based on a new health-related diagnosis that prevented him from returning to work. DeVone's claim was re-opened and he began receiving benefit payments in November 2006. Despite receiving LTD benefits, DeVone started a new $70,000 job as an assistant principal in New Haven, Connecticut, and did not inform his insurance provider of his employment status.

DeVone began working as an assistant principal in October 2006, and made multiple false statements regarding his employment status to his insurance provider from January 2007 to October 2007. During this time period DeVone fraudulently collected $22,135.60 in disability benefits while working full time.

A Hampden County Grand Jury returned an indictment against DeVone on December 22, 2009. DeVone was arraigned in Hamden Superior Court on January 11, 2010, at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. DeVone entered a change of plea to guilty and was sentenced yesterday. DeVone paid $2,000 of the restitution at the hearing.

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 Michael J. Walsh of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts.