Dialing for Dollars

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It’s doubtful that the Pawtucket, Rhode Island, man who was caught collecting more than $7,000 in unemployment insurance while employed, had any idea that the state keeps a prosecutor on-staff solely for these types of cases. (Unfortunately for him, it does.) A press release published by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office provides the details.

The 42-year-old man neglected to mention that he was, in fact, employed at a woodworking company during weekly calls he made to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s (RI-DLT) automated unemployment benefits system to authorize his unemployment pay-outs. (How convenient—he could call during his lunch break!) After he collected more than $7,000 over two and a half years, the RI-DLT opened an initial investigation, which was soon transferred to the State Police.

Eventually, the State made it clear to the man that they had enough evidence to prove he had been illegally receiving government unemployment benefits. (”Just because we let you use the phone to call in for benefits, doesn’t mean we’re not watching.”)Rather than take his chances in front of a jury, he agreed to plead no contest to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses more than $1,500 and will serve four years of probation. He also must repay the State of Rhode Island the full $7,251 that he stole.

Last year, Rhode Island’s Attorney General prosecuted more than 30 people with unemployment benefit insurance fraud, resulting in more than $210,000 in restitution ordered by the courts. (Potential Ocean State fraudsters: you’ve been warned.)

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on, ”Pawtucket Man Pleads to Unemployment Insurance Fraud, Ordered to Pay More Than $7,000 in Restitution,” a press release by the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office on April 21, 2016.

Frank Haworth (age 42) of Pawtucket, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $7,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was working at T&C Woodworking, Inc. Haworth was sentenced to four years probation and ordered to pay restitution of $7,251 to the State of Rhode Island.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that between March 1, 2009 and October 31, 2011, Haworth failed to accurately report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training when he called the Teleserve voice response system to authorize his weekly unemployment benefits.

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Larry Benson
Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.