Owner of Cape Cod Businesses Indicted in Connection with Failing to Pay More Than $242,000 into the Unemployment Trust Fund
BOSTON – An Eastham woman and her three businesses have been indicted in connection with failing to pay more than $242,000 into the Commonwealth’s unemployment trust fund, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.
The 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).
“Qualifying employers are required to pay contributions to the unemployment compensation fund to ensure that benefits are available for eligible workers,” AG Coakley said. “Through enforcement, we aim to level the playing field for those businesses that already follow the law and to ensure future compliance.”
“Enforcing the agreement Massachusetts employers make with the Commonwealth and their workers to contribute to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund ensures the integrity of the program,” said Labor and Workforce Secretary Rachel Kaprielian. “Working with Attorney General Coakley, we want to hold accountable the small number of employers who decide to break the agreement.”
The Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) administers the Unemployment Insurance program, providing temporary assistance to unemployed workers. Funding for these benefits comes from Massachusetts employers. Employers either pay quarterly contributions into the trust fund or non-profit or governmental employers have the option to self-insure, reimbursing the state dollar-for-dollar for benefits paid.
A Suffolk Superior Grand Jury returned indictments against Barbara Niggel, 58, and her three companies on May 1. The defendants are charged as follows:
- Barbara Niggel: Non-Payment of Employer Contributions (31 counts)
- Willy’s LLC: Non-Payment of Employer Contributions (4 counts)
- R&J Productions, Inc.: Non-Payment of Employer Contributions (13 counts)
- Willy’s World Wellness & Conference Center: Non-Payment of Employer Contributions (14 counts)
According to authorities Niggel is the owner/operator of Willy’s LLC, of Hyannis, R&J Productions, Inc., of Orleans, and Willy’s World Wellness & Conference Center, of Eastham. Each company is required to pay unemployment contributions to the DUA. Authorities allege that at various times between 2008 and 2012 Niggel continued to pay her employees, while at times failing to file the company’s tax reports, but ultimately failed to pay the required unemployment tax to DUA resulting in delinquent payments of more than $242,000.
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against Niggel and her three businesses, Willy’s LLC, R&J Productions, Inc., and Willy’s World Wellness & Conference Center, on May 1. The defendants are scheduled to be arraigned on June 2 in Suffolk Superior Court.
DUA’s Revenue Audit and Enforcement Division focuses on the prevention, detection and investigation of those who defraud or attempt to defraud the unemployment insurance program. Once fraud is detected, the Revenue Audit and Enforcement works aggressively with the Attorney General’s office and other agencies to recover money owed to the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund.
In 2013, AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division (IUFD) recovered more than $1.4 million in restitution for the state. The IUFD 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.
To report unemployment fraud call the EOLWD/DUA’s Fraud Hotline at (800) 354-9927 or visit: www.mass.gov/lwd/ui-fraud anytime, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.
The case is being handled by Assistant Attorney General Kristy Lavigne of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Philip Mantyla of the Attorney General’s Office, and Joe Pacheco of EOLWD\DUA.
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