Making Things Right

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6752086 - filling the unemployment insurance application form isolated in blue

To qualify for unemployment benefits, there are a few requirements to be met and some pretty straightforward rules to be followed. For example, a person must be completely unemployed or working less than full-time hours to qualify for unemployment benefits. Also, applicants who are mentally and physically able to work must actively search for employment opportunities while receiving unemployment benefits; provide proof of their job search to continue receiving the check; and notify the unemployment office when they find a new job. Today’s fraudster is a Hollis, New Hampshire woman who committed unemployment insurance fraud by continuing to collect unemployment benefits, while neglecting to tell the State’s Department of Employment Security that she was gainfully employed.

Today’s article states that the New Hampshire woman filed for 19 weeks of unemployment compensation while knowingly failing to report that she was employed. (Either she didn’t fully understand the rules or knew she had a good thing going and didn’t want to disrupt the cash flow into her bank account.) Consequently, she fraudulently received $3,382.00 she did not deserve.

It’s important to note that during this time, the woman was battling cancer. (It’s understandable how she may have been stressed about losing her job and health benefits. Perhaps that was the motivating factor behind her crime.)

While testifying before the judge, the emotional woman from Hollis expressed remorse and indicated she was “embarrassed” and should have been “intelligent enough” to know what she was doing was wrong. (Well, yes.) The woman also told the judge that she regretted her actions and wanted to make things right. (Good move.)

The judge apparently had a heart and didn’t want a sentence to get in the way of the woman’s cancer treatment. The 42-year-old pleaded guilty to one count of unemployment compensation fraud and was sentenced to a year in jail. But, lucky for her, the sentence was deferred for six months, then suspended for two years if she adheres to the conditions in her sentencing order. (That means she won’t go to jail if she complies.) In addition, the woman agreed to a plea deal that states she must remain on good behavior and pay restitution of $3,382 plus a $676 penalty.

Today’s fraudster agreed to participate in an interview with the New Hampshire Department of Employment Security Benefits Rights. She’ll be used as an example of the ramifications of committing unemployment fraud and will be disqualified from receiving unemployment compensation benefits for a year. (Here’s to wishing her good luck with her cancer recovery and let’s hope she can adhere to this new set of rules.)

Today’s “Fraud of the Day” is based on an article entitled, Woman admits to unemployment compensation fraud,” published by The Telegraph on April 4, 2018.

NASHUA – A tearful Melissa Padeiro, her voice choked with emotion, admitted in court Monday that she’s “embarrassed,” and “should have been intelligent enough”to understand what she was doing when she filed for 19 weeks of unemployment benefits to which she was not entitled.

“Your honor, I stand here before you very sorry for my careless actions … looking back, this was clearly wrong, and foolish. I want to make this right,” Padeiro, 42, of Hollis, told Superior Court Judge Tina L.

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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.