For Immediate Release - October 27, 2010

South Attleboro Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced for Collecting More Than $22,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - A South Attleboro man pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court in connection with collecting over $22,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

Jeffery Walsh, age 46, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (31 counts), and Larceny Over $250. Following the change of plea, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Mitchell Kaplan sentenced Walsh to five years probation and ordered him to pay $22,143 in restitution.

"Unemployment benefits provide valuable assistance to those who have lost their jobs," said AG Coakley. "Working while collecting unemployment benefits is illegal and undermines the purpose of a system designed to help. Our office will continue, as we have in the past, to pursue violators of the law and return these fraudulently obtained benefits to the Commonwealth."

In June 2008, Walsh became separated from his employment. In October 2008, Walsh applied for unemployment insurance benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) and received his first check that same week. In January 2009 Walsh gained full-time employment, but continued to apply for and receive unemployment benefits.

Despite being employed full time, for each of the 31 weeks that Walsh collected unemployment benefits between January 2009 and August 2009, he notified 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 $22,143 while working and collecting.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Walsh on July 15, 2010. Walsh was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on August 16, 2010 at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Walsh pled guilty October 25, 2010 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.

The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jessica Massey 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.