Driving Away with Fraud

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Each state has a program that provides unemployment benefits to eligible workers who are unemployed through no fault of their own. A man in Rhode Island collected more than $15,000 in benefits he did not deserve while simultaneously working multiple jobs. (That would definitely disqualify him from his state’s unemployment program.)

The U.S. Department of Labor reports that approximately $3.5 billion in improper payments were issued in 2015 with a rise to $3.8 billion projected for 2016. In Rhode Island alone, more than $24 million in improper payments were issued in 2015. (It’s important to note that not all of these payments are due to fraud, however many are.)

Today’s ”Fraudster of the Day” stole unemployment benefits he did not deserve by failing to accurately report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. (He was working for three automotive companies at the time he was collecting a check from the state agency.)

The 46-year-old man pleaded no contest to the charge of unemployment insurance benefit fraud and will be required to pay back $15,144 to the state of Rhode Island. He was sentenced to five years suspended with probation and ordered to pay restitution of at least $266 a month.

Unemployment insurance exists to help support laid off workers when the economy takes a downturn or an employer’s business is unstable. It’s not intended to help deceptive people earn some extra cash on the side. This man’s take may not seem like a lot, but as the statistics show, it all adds up. Congratulations to the state’s Attorney General for catching and prosecuting this fraudster before he could drive away with more unearned benefits.

Source: Today’s ”Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, ”Fall River man ordered to make payments for unemployment fraud in R.I.,” published by The Herald News on August 24, 2016.

A Fall River man will be paying back the state of Rhode Island after pleading no contest to unemployment insurance benefit fraud.

Edward Cicciu, 46, entered the plea to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses Tuesday before Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke. Cicciu had been accused of collecting $15,444 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was employed. Cicciu was sentenced to five years suspended with probation and ordered to pay restitution at a rate of no less than $266 per month.

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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.