For Immediate Release - October 05, 2011

Dorchester Woman Indicted for Allegedly Receiving More Than $31,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON – A Dorchester woman has been indicted in connection with fraudulently receiving more than $31,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Joan McNeill, age 52, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (53 counts) and Larceny Over $250.

“The unlawful collection of unemployment benefits puts an undue strain on the system,” AG Coakley said.  “The detection, investigation, and prosecution of these crimes are paramount to bring these funds back to the Commonwealth.”

According to authorities, McNeill applied for unemployment benefits from the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA) in May 2008 while separated from her employer.  She allegedly received unemployment benefits from June 2008 through May 2010.  During part of this time, McNeill was allegedly working full-time for three separate employers and failed to disclose her employment status to EOLWD\DUA.    

Despite working full time, McNeill allegedly collected unemployment benefits during December 2008, and from May 2009 until May 2010.  For each of these 53 weeks McNeill allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that she was not working but that she was able to work and was available for work.  The alleged fraudulent activities were initially detected by investigators from the EOLWD\DUA.  Authorities allege McNeill collected fraudulent benefits totaling $31,486 while working and collecting. 

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against McNeill on October 3.  McNeill is scheduled to be arraigned on November 3, in Suffolk Superior Court.

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.  In 2010, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division obtained more than $800,000 in restitution orders in 30 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 this case is Assistant Attorney General Sarah Bookbinder of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Christopher Gabriel of the Attorney General’s Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.