Three Charged for Allegedly Collecting More Than $75,000 in Unemployment Benefits While Working
BOSTON – Three individuals have been charged in connection with collecting a combined total of more than $75,000 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 $87,000 from their employment.
“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,” AG Coakley said.
“Unemployment insurance is income protection for those who have lost their jobs through no fault of their own,” said Labor and Workforce Secretary Rachel Kaprielian. “Working with Attorney General Coakley to hold those who abuse unemployment insurance accountable helps ensure the integrity of the program.”
A Suffolk County Grand Jury returned indictments against two defendants on Dec. 11. A separate district court complaint was taken out against the remaining defendant. The two defendants indicted are scheduled to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on Jan. 6. They are charged as follows:
Orlando Mancebo, 40, of Roxbury, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (87 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Mancebo applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between July 2009 and March 2011. During that time, Mancebo was allegedly working and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 87 weeks that Mancebo 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 Mancebo collected fraudulent benefits totaling more than $30,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Mancebo earned more than $38,000 from his employment.
Michael Woods, 53, formerly of Springfield, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (121 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (3 counts). According to authorities, Woods applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA from December 2008 through to April 2012. During that time, Woods allegedly worked full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 121 weeks that Woods 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 Woods collected fraudulent benefits totaling more than $25,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Woods earned nearly $48,000 through his employment.
A complaint was also taken out in Boston Municipal Court against Barabra Loonan, 33, of Belmont on Dec. 11.
Loonan is scheduled for arraignment in Boston Municipal Court on Jan. 7. She is charged with Unemployment Fraud (36 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Loonan applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWD\DUA between May 2011and January 2012. During part of that time Loonan allegedly worked full time and failed to disclose her employment status to EOLWD\DUA. For each of the 36 weeks that Loonan collected unemployment benefits while working she allegedly notified the EOLWD\DUA that she was working, that she was able to work and was available for work. According to authorities, during each of those weeks, Loonan dramatically underreported her earnings to the EOLWD\DUA from her full time employment. Authorities allege Loonan fraudulently collected unemployment benefits totaling more than $18,000 while working and collecting. During the time of the alleged fraud, Loonan earned approximately $36,000 through her 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.
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 @ 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 April English and Thomas Caldwell of AG Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigator Philip Mantyla and Steven Pfister of the Attorney General’s Office and investigators from EOLWD\DUA.