For Immediate Release - April 20, 2011

Three Arraigned for Allegedly Collecting More Than $59,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON - Three individuals were arraigned in connection with collecting over $59,000 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) and the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB). During the month of March, the Attorney General's office separately charged nine individuals in connection with collecting over $163,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work.

"The unlawful collection of unemployment benefits puts an undue strain on the system and violators of the law should know that they will be held accountable for their actions," AG Coakley said. "Our office will continue investigate and prosecute these crimes and return the funds back to the Commonwealth."

DANIEL BRITT
Daniel Britt, age 42, of Springfield, was arraigned on charges of Unemployment Fraud (35 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Britt applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between December 2008 and August 2009. During the relevant time periods, Britt was allegedly working full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 35 weeks that Britt fraudulently collected unemployment benefits 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 Britt collected fraudulent benefits totaling $21,422 while working and collecting.

ALICIA SULLIVAN
Alicia Sullivan, age 31, of Swampscott, was arraigned on charges of Unemployment Fraud (51 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (3 counts). According to authorities, Sullivan applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA on three separate occasions between May 2005 and February 2009. During the relevant time periods, Sullivan was allegedly working full time for four different employers and failed to disclose her employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 51 weeks that Sullivan collected unemployment benefits she allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that she was not working, but that she was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Sullivan collected fraudulent benefits totaling $17,008 while working and collecting.

MICHAEL CHIANCA
Michael Chianca, age 36, of East Boston, was arraigned on charges of Unemployment Fraud (40 counts), Larceny Over $250 (3 counts), and Workers' Compensation Fraud. According to authorities, Chianca applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA on two separate occasions between June 2006 and September 2008. During the relevant time period Chianca was allegedly working full time for seven separate employers and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. Authorities further allege that for 17 weeks Chianca was receiving workers compensation benefits while collecting unemployment benefits and working. For each of the 40 weeks that Chianca collected unemployment benefits he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Chianca fraudulently collected unemployment benefits totaling $21,100 while working and collecting. Authorities further allege that Chianca fraudulently collected $4,881.12 in workers' compensation benefits. This case was referred to the Attorney General's from the IFB.

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Britt, Sullivan, and Chianca on March 31. The defendants were arraigned on April 14, in Suffolk Superior Court, at which time each entered individual pleas of not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Britt and Sullivan are due back in court on May 10, for a pre-trial conference. Chianca is due back in court on June 1, for a pre-trial conference. Clerk Magistrate Gary Wilson presided over the 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. In 2010, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division 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 cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Jessica Massey, Joshua Pakstis, and Michael J. Walsh of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Rose Bagalawis and Tracy Wetterlow of the Attorney General's Office, investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA and the IFB.

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