For Immediate Release - June 17, 2013

Five Charged for Allegedly Collecting More Than $102,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working

BOSTON – Five individuals have been charged in connection with collecting a combined total of more than $102,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.  

The cases are the result of investigations referred to the Attorney General’s Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development’s Department of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWD\DUA). Authorities allege that during the time the defendants were collecting unemployment benefits they collectively earned more than $196,000 from their employment.

“We allege these defendants collected unemployment benefits while continuing to work in violation of the law,” AG Coakley said. “Unemployment fraud puts a strain on the system and the detection, investigation, and prosecution of these crimes are important to deter fraud and return these funds back to the Commonwealth.”

A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against two defendants Thursday. Three separate District Court complaints were taken out against the remaining defendants. 

The two defendants indicted Thursday are scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on July 11. They are charged as follows:

WILLIAM COTTO-ROSARIO

William Cotto-Rosario, 43, of Waltham, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (67 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Cotto-Rosario applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between April 2008 and June 2010. During that time, Cotto-Rosario was allegedly working for various employers and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 67 weeks that Cotto-Rosario 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 Cotto-Rosario collected fraudulent benefits totaling more than $36,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Cotto-Rosario earned more than $57,000 from his employment.

JOHN HILLIARD

John Hilliard, 49, of Plymouth, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (35 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts). According to authorities, Hilliard applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA from August 2008 to January 2009 and March 2010 to June 2010. During part of that time, Hilliard allegedly worked full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 35 weeks that Hilliard 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 Hilliard collected fraudulent benefits totaling more than $24,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Hilliard earned nearly $47,000 through his employment.  

Complaints were also taken out in Boston Municipal Court against three additional defendants today. The defendants are scheduled for arraignment in Boston Municipal Court on July 10. They are charged as follows: 

LUIS TEJADA

Luis Tejada, 31, of Lawrence, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (33 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Tejada applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between October 2009 and November 2010. During that time, Tejada allegedly worked full time for multiple employers and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 33 weeks that Tejada 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 Tejada collected fraudulent benefits totaling more than $15,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Tejada earned more than $26,000 from his employment.  

DOUGLAS NUNES

Douglas Nunes, 37, of New Bedford is charged with Unemployment Fraud (35 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Nunes applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between September 2009 and June 2010. During part of that time Nunes allegedly worked full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 35 weeks that Nunes collected unemployment benefits while working he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Nunes fraudulently collected unemployment benefits totaling more than $14,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Nunes earned approximately $41,000 through his employment.  

CATALINO MALDONADO, JR.

Catalino Maldonado, Jr., 48, of Indian Orchard, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (42 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Maldonado received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between November 2008 and September 2009. During that time Maldonado was allegedly working and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 42 weeks that Maldonado collected unemployment benefits while working he allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that he was not working, that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Maldonado fraudulently collected unemployment benefits totaling more than $13,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Maldonado earned approximately $25,000 through his employment.

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 cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Joshua Pakstis, David Andrews, and Gabriel Thornton of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Philip Mantyla and Tracy Wetterlow of the Attorney General’s Office and investigators Ryan Murphy and Mark St. Onge from EOLWD\DUA.

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