Two Men Arraigned for Allegedly Collecting More Than $63,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working
"Unemployment benefits provide necessary relief for many people struggling in today's economy," said AG Coakley. "It is unfair and a disservice to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth for individuals to collect benefits while working when so many are in need."
Thomas Kelley, age 55, of Medford, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (38 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts).
According to authorities, Kelley applied for unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA in April 2006 while separated from his employer and began receiving benefits from April 2006 through September 2006. In January 2008, Kelley applied for unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA and began receiving benefits from February 2008 through January 2009. During the relevant time periods, Kelley was allegedly working for seven different employers and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.
For each of the 38 weeks that Kelley collected unemployment benefits between April 2006 through September 2006 and February 2008 through January 2009, he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Kelley collected fraudulent benefits totaling $20,812.94 while working and collecting. During the relevant time period, Kelley allegedly earned over $41,526.40 from his various places of employment.
GARY ST. HILAIRE
Gary St. Hilaire, age 48, of Lowell, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (70 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (3 counts).
According to authorities, St. Hilaire applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) on three separate occasions in November 2006, 2007, and 2008, while separated from his employer and began receiving benefits from December 2006 through June 2007, December 2007 through November 2008, and November 2008 through May 2009. During the relevant time periods, St. Hilaire was allegedly working for a lawn care service company and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.
For each of the 70 weeks that St. Hilaire collected unemployment benefits between January 2007 through June 2007, January 2008 through November 2008, and January 2009 through May 2009, he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege St. Hilaire collected fraudulent benefits totaling $42,639 while working and collecting. During the relevant time period, St. Hilaire allegedly earned over $121,000 gross pay from his employer.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Kelley on June 10, 2010. Indictments were returned against St. Hilaire on November 18, 2010. Today, Kelley and St. Hilaire were arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court at which time both entered individual pleas of not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Kelley and St. Hilaire are due back in court on January 19, 2011, for a pre-trial conference. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson presided over today's arraignments.
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 $800,000 in restitution orders in 28 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 prosecutor assigned to these cases is Assistant Attorneys General Michael J. Walsh of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Scott Gisetto of the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.