For Immediate Release - June 08, 2011

Four Men Plead Guilty, Sentenced for Collecting More Than $101,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

Defendants from throughout the Commonwealth charged for multiple violations

BOSTON - Four men have pled guilty and were sentenced on charges they separately schemed to collect over $101,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. The cases are the result of investigations referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA).

"The detection, investigation, and prosecution of these crimes are vital in bringing funds back to the Commonwealth," AG Coakley said. "Unemployment benefits provide necessary relief for many people struggling in today's economy. It is a disservice to the taxpayers for individuals to collect benefits while working when so many are in need."

GARY ST. HILAIRE

Gary St. Hilaire, age 48, of Lowell, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (70 counts), and Larceny Over $250 (3 counts). Following the change of plea, St. Hilaire was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay $42,639 in restitution and perform 200 hours of community service.

St. Hilaire received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA 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 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 he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. St. Hilaire collected fraudulent benefits totaling $42,639 while working and collecting.

THOMAS KELLEY

Thomas Kelley, age 55, of Medford, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (38 counts), and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts). Following the change of plea, Kelley was sentenced to three years probation and ordered to pay $18,829 in restitution and perform 50 hours of community service.

Kelley received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA from April 2006 through September 2006 and 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 he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Kelley collected fraudulent benefits totaling $18,829 while working and collecting.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Kelley on June 10, 2010. Indictments were returned against St. Hilaire on November 18, 2010. Kelley and St. Hilaire were arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on December 2, 2010 at which time both entered individual pleas of not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. On May 26, 2011, Kelley pled guilty, was sentenced, ordered to pay restitution and perform community service. On June 1, 2011, St. Hilaire plead guilty, was sentenced, ordered to pay restitution and perform community service. Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball presided over the changes of plea and sentences.

ERIC ANDERSON

Eric Anderson, age 37, of Quincy, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (48 counts), and Larceny Over $250 (3 counts). Following the change of plea, Anderson was sentenced to two years probation and ordered to pay full restitution.

Anderson received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between October 2006 and April 2008. During the relevant time periods, Anderson was working full time for three different employers and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 48 weeks that Anderson collected unemployment he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Anderson collected fraudulent benefits totaling $25,178 while working and collecting.

MANUEL MORALES

Manuel Morales, age 51, of Southbridge, pled guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (42 counts), and Larceny Over $250. Following his plea, Morales was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay $14,845 in restitution.

Morales received unemployment benefits from the (EOLWD\DUA) between December 2008 and September 2009 while separated from his employer. During the relevant time period, Morales was working full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 42 weeks that Morales collected unemployment benefits he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Morales collected fraudulent benefits totaling $14,845 while working and collecting.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Anderson and Morales on March 3, 2011. Anderson and Morales were arraigned on March 22, 2011, at which time they entered individual pleas of not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. On June 2, 2011, Anderson and Morales pled guilty, were sentenced before Suffolk Superior Court Judge Carol Ball and ordered to pay restitution.

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 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.

These cases were prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Michael J. Walsh, Brendan O'Shea, and Omar Gonzalez-Pagan of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Rose Bagalawis and Tracy Wetterlow of the Attorney General's Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.

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