Part Time Work, Full Time Fraud

Unemployment insurance form on a table.

For twelve years, part time employee Joanne Dinot was a full time fraud. Starting in 2008, Dinoto was responsible for payroll, and tracking invoices and deposits using accounting software for a flooring company in Massachusetts. She was also provided a corporate credit card by company ownership to make occasional purchases. All the authority and tools she needed to steal $1.8 million from her employer.

Dinoto used a variety of methods to rob her employer, including falsely inflating her salary and forging at least two checks to herself from her employer’s checking account. To hide the scheme, she forged her employer’s accounting records. She regularly used the corporate credit card for personal expenditures, such as groceries and meals, along with travel and entertainment expenses. Dinoto’s use of the card continued even after the company owner told her to cancel it in late 2015 or early 2016.

Dinoto left the flooring company before they discovered her fraud, but her new job didn’t stop her fraudulent ways. This time Dinoto turned to government fraud. Dinoto started working for a lighting company using a fake Social Security number. Starting in August 2020, Dinoto collected unemployment benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance under her true Social Security number, despite her fulltime employment status with a stolen ID! Eventually, Dinoto’s schemes caught up with her.

Great job by the IRS for catching Dinoto. Not only did she plead guilty to bank fraud and unemployment fraud, but she plead guilty to false tax return fraud. In the United States, embezzled funds to indeed constitute taxable income. That puts a fraudster in a tough place! Dinoto did not report the more than $1 million in funds she embezzled from the Acton company, nor her wages from the Wilmington company on her federal income tax returns.

Today’s Fraud Of The Day is based on article “Tewksbury bookkeeper pleads guilty to embezzling more than $1.8 million from employer” published by Lowell Sun on March 2, 2023

BOSTON — U.S. Attorney Rachael Rollins’ office announced on Wednesday that a Tewksbury woman pleaded guilty in federal court to embezzling more than $1.8 million from an Acton flooring company that employed her, while later unlawfully collecting unemployment assistance while working for a Wilmington lighting company.

Joanne Dinoto, 48, also known as Joanne Mara, pleaded guilty to bank fraud, aggravated identity theft and three counts of wire fraud, as well as filing a false tax return for failing to report the money she embezzled on her income tax returns, according to Rollins’ office.

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Larry Benson, Senior Director of Strategic Alliances, LexisNexis Risk Solutions - Government

Larry Benson is responsible for developing strategic partnerships and solutions for the government vertical. His expertise focuses on how government programs are defrauded by criminal groups, and the approaches necessary to prevent them from succeeding.

Mr. Benson has 30 years of experience in sales and business development. Before joining LexisNexis® Risk Solutions, he spent 12 years founding and managing two software technology startups. During the 1990s he spent 10 years as a Regional Director helping to grow a New England-based technology company from 300 employees to 7,000. He started his career with Martin Marietta Aerospace working on laser guided weapons and day/night vision systems.

A sought-after speaker and accomplished writer, Mr. Benson is the principal author of “Fraud of the Day,” a website dedicated to educating government officials about how criminals are defrauding government programs. He has co-authored WTF? Where’s the Fraud? How to Unmask and Stop Identity Fraud’s Drain on Our Government, and Data Personified, How Fraud is Changing the Meaning of Identity.

Benson holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Albright College, and earned two graduate degrees – a Master of Business Administration from Florida Institute of Technology, and a Master of Science in Engineering from Lehigh University.