Two Men Plead to Unemployment Insurance Benefit Fraud

Providence – Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin announced that two individuals pleaded nolo contendere yesterday to unemployment insurance benefit fraud with court-ordered restitution in excess of $15,000.

«These pleas account for an additional $15,000 in court-ordered restitution that we have been successful in obtaining this year alone as a result of the prosecution of individuals who have chosen to commit unemployment insurance benefit fraud and then refuse to cooperate with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training to repay what they owe,» said Attorney General Kilmartin.

Ralph Altieri (age 62), of North Providence, pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Providence Superior Court Magistrate Patrick Burke 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 employed. Under the terms of the plea, Altieri was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $7,860 at a rate of no less than $164 per month.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between October 16, 2010 and August 13, 2011, Altieri failed to accurately report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) when he called in to the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize his weekly unemployment benefits. While Altieri was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, he was working for four separate construction companies in Massachusetts.

Steven Barone (age 34), of Cranston, also pleaded nolo contendere yesterday before Magistrate Burke to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 for collecting more than $8,000 in unemployment insurance benefits while he was employed. Under the terms of the plea, Barone was sentenced to five years probation and ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $8,638 at a rate or no less than $153 per month.

Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that on diverse dates between May 12, 2012 and November 22, 2014, Barone failed to accurately report his weekly earnings to the RIDLT when reported his wages weekly to RIDLT via the internet to authorize his weekly unemployment benefits. While Barone was collecting unemployment insurance benefits, he was working for SMG (RI Convention Center) and numerous employers through Labors Local Union 271.

The cases were initiated by RI DLT fraud investigators and then referred to the Rhode Island State Police where the investigations were led by Investigator Michael Douglas. Special Assistant Attorney General Carole L. McLaughlin prosecuted the cases on behalf of the Office of Attorney General.

The Office of Attorney General is assigned a prosecutor devoted exclusively to prosecuting fraud cases referred by the RI DLT involving unemployment insurance benefits fraud, workers’ compensation fraud, prevailing wage violations, and labor standards violations. The prosecutor in this position is solely responsible for screening, charging, prosecuting, tracking, and reporting case results to RI DLT and the Office of Attorney General.