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Five Arraigned for Allegedly Collecting More Than $55,000 in Unemployment and Workers' Compensation Benefits While Working

Targeted News Service

BOSTON, Feb. 14 -- The Massachusetts Attorney General issued the following news release:

Five individuals have been charged in connection with collecting more than $55,000 in unemployment and workers' compensation benefits while continuing to work, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced. The cases are the result of investigations referred to the Attorney General's Office by the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (EOLWDDUA) and the Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts (IFB).

The following defendants have been arraigned in connection with unemployment fraud:

JOSHUA REYES

Joshua Reyes, 29, of Springfield, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (43 counts) and Larceny Over $250 (2 counts). According to authorities, Reyes applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWDDUA on two separate occasions between October 2007 and July 2009. During the relevant time periods, Reyes was allegedly working full time and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWDDUA. For each of the 43 weeks that Reyes fraudulently collected unemployment benefits he allegedly notified the EOLWDDUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege Reyes collected more than $16,000 while working and collecting.

HEATHER MCDONOUGH

Heather McDonough, 40, of Quincy, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (25 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, McDonough applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWDDUA between September 2008 and April 2010. During part of the time, McDonough was allegedly working full time and failed to disclose her employment status to EOLWDDUA. For each of the 25 weeks that McDonough collected unemployment benefits she allegedly notified the EOLWDDUA that she was not working, but that she was able to work and was available for work. Authorities allege McDonough collected more than $15,000 in fraudulent benefits while working and collecting.

RONALD ELLISON, JR.

Ronald Ellison, Jr., 48, of Swampscott, is charged with Unemployment Fraud (38 counts) and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities, Ellison applied for and received unemployment benefits from EOLWDDUA between October 2009 and July 2010. During that time period, Ellison was allegedly working and failed to disclose his employment status to EOLWDDUA. For each of the 38 weeks that Ellison collected unemployment benefits he allegedly represented to the EOLWDDUA that he was not working, that he was able to work, and that he was seeking work. Authorities allege that Ellison collected more than $13,000 in fraudulent benefits while working and collecting.

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District Court complaints were filed against the defendants on January 24 in Boston Municipal Court. Reyes and McDonough were individually arraigned Wednesday in Boston Municipal Court where each pleaded not guilty and were released on personal recognizance. Reyes is due back in court on March 27, for a pre-trial conference. McDonough is due back in court on April 19, for a pre-trial conference. Ellison was arraigned Tuesday in Boston Municipal Court where he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Ellison is due back in court on May 15, for a pre-trial conference. Judge Sally Kelly presided over the arraignments.

The following defendants have been arraigned in connection with workers' compensation fraud:

MEDGINE DUFRENE

Medgine Dufrene, 28, of Mattapan, is charged with Workers' Compensation Fraud and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities Dufrene suffered a work related injury and began receiving temporary total disability benefits through her insurer in June 2011 and subsequently certified that she was not working. In January 2012, Dufrene's insurer learned that she was allegedly working for another employer while collecting benefits. Authorities allege that between June 2011 and January 2012, Dufrene fraudulently received more than $7,000 in temporary total disability benefits while continuing to work.

MICHAEL MCLAUGHLIN

Michael McLaughlin, 49, of Hull, is charged with Workers' Compensation Fraud and Larceny Over $250. According to authorities McLaughlin suffered a work related injury and began receiving temporary total disability benefits through his insurer in February 2010 and subsequently certified that he was not working. In June 2010, both McLaughlin's insurance company and the IFB received tips that he was employed. Authorities allege that between July 2010 and October 2010, McLaughlin fraudulently received more than $4,000 in temporary total disability benefits while continuing to work.

District Court complaints were filed against Dufrene in Boston Municipal Court and against McLaughlin in Hingham District Court on January 24. Dufrene was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Wednesday where she pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. Dufrene is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on March 27. McLaughlin was arraigned in Hingham District Court Wednesday where he pleaded not guilty and was released on personal recognizance. McLaughlin is scheduled for a pre-trial conference on March 20.

AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division 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 system. The prosecution of insurance fraud helps prevent the increase in premiums and taxes that are the result of fraudulent insurance claims. In 2012, the IUFD obtained more than $1,647,000 in restitution orders in 32 matters.

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To report unemployment fraud to the EOLWDDUA, call the agency's toll free fraud hotline at 1-800-354-9927 anytime, 24 hours a day. Callers may remain anonymous.

The cases are being prosecuted by Assistant Attorneys General Erika Rickard, Brendan O'Shea, Peter Downing, and Jessica Massey of AG Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division with assistance from investigators Tracy Wetterlow and Christopher Gabriel of the Attorney General's Office, investigator Mark St. Onge from EOLWDDUA and the IFB.

TNS JF78JF-130216-4208657 EditorFurigay

Copyright:(c) 2013 Targeted News Service
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