For Immediate Release - April 15, 2011

Randolph Woman Arraigned in Connection with Fraudulently Collecting Over $15,000 in Disability Benefits While Working

BOSTON - A Randolph woman has been arraigned in connection with fraudulently collecting over $15,000 in disability benefits while working, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. The case is the result of an investigation referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Massachusetts Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB).

Maria Oliveira-Soares, age 52, was arraigned on charges of Workers' Compensation Fraud (2 counts) and Perjury.

"Workers' compensation fraud puts an undue strain on many businesses leading to higher premiums that ultimately get passed down to consumers," said AG Coakley.

The Attorney General's Office began an investigation into Oliveira-Soares' activities after a referral was made by the IFB in November 2009. According to authorities Oliveira-Soares filed a claim for workers' compensation benefits in March 2004 for an injury sustained while working for a cleaning company and began receiving partial incapacity benefits in September of that year. Following her claim, Oliveira-Soares made multiple reports of debilitating pain from her injuries and testified to the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA) in August 2005 that she had not returned to work since the incident. Authorities allege that Oliveira-Soares worked for five separate employers while collecting benefits since filing her claim in March 2004. Authorities further allege that while collecting benefits, Oliveira-Soares filed a second claim for workers' compensation benefits for injuries sustained while working as a nurse's assistant in October 2005. During the relevant time period, Oliveira-Soares collected over $15,000 in benefits.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Oliveira-Soares on March 7. Oliveira Soares was arraigned yesterday in Suffolk Superior Court at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Oliveira Soares is due back in court on June 14, for a pre-trial hearing. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson presided over the arraignment.

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 over $800,000 in restitution orders in 30 matters.

This case is being prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Jennifer Adreani of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators from the Attorney General's Office and the Insurance Fraud Bureau.