Brockton Man Pleads Guilty in Connection with Collecting More Than $32,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working
Defendant Earned Thousands of Dollars While Fraudulently Collecting Benefits
BOSTON – A Brockton man has pleaded guilty to charges he collected a combined total of more than $32,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
“This defendant earned thousands of dollars while collecting unemployment benefits,” AG Coakley said. “The detection, investigation, and prosecution of these crimes is critical in our effort to return these funds to the Commonwealth.”
Gary Alvarado, 29, pleaded guilty to charges of Unemployment Fraud (59 counts) and Larceny Over $250. After the plea was entered, Judge Carol Ball sentenced Alvarado to three years probation and ordered him to pay more than $32,000 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 Department of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA).
Alvarado applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between March 2009 and November 2010. During part of that time, Alvarado worked full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 59 weeks that Alvarado collected unemployment benefits while working he notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work.
Alvarado fraudulently collected more than $32,000 in benefits while working and collecting. During the time of the fraud, Alvarado earned approximately $34,477 through his employment.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Alvarado on June 7, 2012. Alvarado was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on July 10, 2012 where he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Alvarado pleaded guilty on Monday, was sentenced and ordered to pay restitution.
The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) provides temporary assistance to unemployed workers through the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, which is funded by employer contributions. Private employers are required to pay quarterly contributions into the trust fund based on the number of workers they employ and how often their workers have accessed UI benefits, among other factors.
DUA’s Program Integrity Department focuses on the prevention, detection and the investigation of those who defraud or attempt to defraud the unemployment insurance program. Once fraud is detected, the Program Integrity Department works aggressively with the Attorney General’s office and other agencies to recover money owed to the UI Trust Fund.
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 systems. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims. In 2012, the IUFD obtained more than $1,647,000 in restitution orders in 32 matters.
To report unemployment fraud call the EOLWD/DUA’s Fraud Hotline @ 1-800-354-9927 or visit: www.mass.gov/lwd/ui-fraud anytime, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gabriel Thornton of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Tracy Wetterlow of the Attorney General’s Office and investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.