For Immediate Release - January 04, 2012

Ashburnham Man Pleads Guilty and Sentenced in Connection with Collecting Nearly $28,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON – An Ashburnham man pleaded guilty and was sentenced in connection with collecting nearly $28,000, on two separate claims, in unemployment benefits while working for a construction company, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

Robert Hurtubise, age 50, of Ashburnham, pleaded guilty to Unemployment Fraud (47 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (1 count).  After the plea was entered, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Frances McIntyre sentenced Hurtubise to serve 5 years of probation and to pay $27,980 in restitution.

This case is the result of an investigation referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA).  Between January 2008 and October 2009, Hurtubise applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA on two separate occasions.  During the relevant time periods, Hurtubise was working for full time for the same employer and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA.  For each of the 47 weeks that Hurtubise 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.

A Suffolk Superior Grand Jury returned indictments against Hurtubise on March 31, 2011.  Hurtubise was arraigned on May 6, 2011 in Suffolk Superior Court at which time he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance.  Yesterday, Hurtubise pled guilty and was ordered to pay full restitution and serve 5 years of probation by Judge McIntyre.

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 2011, the Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division obtained $5,578,934 in restitution orders in 33 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.

This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Audrey Cosgrove of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from Senior Investigator Rose Bagalawis of the Attorney General’s Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.

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