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‘Till Prison Cells Do Us Part

Unemployment-Unemployment Insurance-3
Senior Director of Strategic Alliances
LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

‘Till Prison Cells Do Us Part

Arthur Pacheco, 47, of Massachusetts has pleaded guilty to wire fraud after fraudulently applying for and receiving Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) with the help of his wife, Tiffany.

Tiffany was employed with the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment (DUA) where she took advantage of her position (how convenient) and fraudulently submitted PUA claims for herself and for her husband. (The couple has taken the lovebird phrase ”partners in crime” a bit too literally.)

Tiffany’s DUA employment began shortly after being released from prison for aggravated identity theft. (She was released from prison after serving time for stealing identities, yet she was given a job where she had access to thousands of identities. Can you say, ”kid in a candy store?”)

Arthur was incarcerated in Texas at the time of Tiffany’s PUA claim submissions, which made him ineligible to legally receive unemployment assistance. (He was out of work because he did something wrong, not because he lost his job due to no fault of his own.)

After Arthur’s release, he reached out to the DUA three times about an appeal of his PUA claims. On these calls, Arthur made false claims about the timing of his incarceration as well as referencing a fictitious employment letter that would substantiate his PUA claims.

The DUA later received a forged letter from a retailer that fabricated having to withdraw a January 2020 job offer from Arthur due to COVID-19. (Unless the job offer was to be an inmate groundskeeper, Arthur could not have applied or accepted the position since he was incarcerated in Texas at the time of the fictitious job offer.)

Arthur pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud which could lead to a maximum of a $250,000 fine, a sentence of up to 20 years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. His sentencing is scheduled for November 18, 2021.

Tiffany is scheduled to plead guilty on August 30, 2021. (After sharing a bed for the duration of their marriage, having individual prison cells may be an adjustment.)

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a Department of Justice press release, ”Former New Bedford Man Pleads Guilty to False Pandemic Unemployment Claims,” published on July 23, 2021.

BOSTON – A former New Bedford man pleaded guilty in federal court in Boston yesterday to federal wire fraud charges arising from claims for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) funds.

Arthur Pacheco, 47, previously of New Bedford, Mass., pleaded guilty to two counts of wire fraud. U.S. District Court Judge Indira Talwani scheduled sentencing for Nov. 18, 2021. Arthur Pacheco was arrested and charged in December 2020 with his wife Tiffany Pacheco, who is scheduled to plead guilty on Aug. 30, 2021.

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