Wakefield Man Pleads Guilty, Sentenced in Connection with Insurance Fraud
WOBURN – A Wakefield man has pleaded guilty to fraudulently collecting more than $30,000 in disability benefits, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
“Despite running his own business, this defendant continued to claim that he was unable to work and had no additional income while collecting benefits,” AG Coakley said. “Insurance fraud leads to higher premiums passed down to businesses and consumers.”
“This type of fraud impacts all citizens in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. We take all types of insurance fraud seriously,” said Daniel Johnston, Executive Director of the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts. “This case is a result of our continued successful partnership with the Attorney General’s Office to fight insurance fraud.”
Eric Bertrand, 39, pleaded guilty to charges of Making a Fraudulent Insurance Claim and Larceny Over $250. Following his plea Middlesex Superior Court Judge Kenneth Desmond, Jr. sentenced Bertrand to three years probation and ordered him to pay more than $30,000 in restitution.
Bertrand began receiving disability benefits in August 2004 after claiming that severe headaches prohibited him from performing his duties. Bertrand collected short-term and long-term disability benefits through his employer’s insurer through February 2010. Bertrand claimed to be disabled and unable to work throughout his entire claim period.
Investigators discovered that Bertrand began operating a computer repair business in August 2007. Further investigation revealed that during a portion of his claim Bertrand was receiving disability benefits while operating his business. As a result of this scheme Bertrand collected more than $30,000 in disability benefits while earning an income from his business.
A Middlesex Grand Jury returned indictments against Bertrand on February 19. He was arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court on April 25 where he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Bertrand pleaded guilty on September 30 and was sentenced and ordered to pay restitution.
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 2012, the IUFD obtained more than $1,647,000 in restitution orders in 32 matters.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant Attorney General Gina Masotta of AG Coakley’s Criminal Bureau with assistance from investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts.