Lawrence, Massachusetts Man Arraigned For Allegedly Collecting More Than $14,000 In Unemployment And Workers’ Compensation Benefits

                               

Boston, MA (CompNewsNetwork) - A Lawrence man was arraigned  on charges he schemed to fraudulently collect over $14,000 in unemployment benefits and workers' compensation benefits.  Rigoberto Tellez, age 38, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (23 counts), Workers' Compensation Fraud and Larceny over $250 (2 counts).

According to authorities, Tellez applied for and began receiving unemployment benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development's Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in October 2005 while separated from his employer, Dec-Tam Corporation (Dec-Tam).  In November 2005, Tellez was re-hired by Dec-Tam and allegedly continued to receive unemployment benefits and failed to disclose his employment status to DUA.

On December, 10, 2005, Tellez was injured in a fall sustained at work.  According to authorities, Tellez applied for and began receiving workers' compensation benefits through his employer's insurer, AIG, from December 2005 until May 2006, at which time he was cleared through an independent medical examination (IME) for light duty work.  Dec-Tam allegedly offered Tellez employment which met the criteria stated by the IME, which he subsequently refused.  In June 2006, Tellez allegedly filed an employee claim with the Department of Industrial Accidents (DIA).  DIA heard the claim in September 2006 and ordered AIG to pay Tellez benefits retroactively from June 2006.

According to authorities, Tellez filed an Employee Earning Report (E.E.R.) in June 2006 stating that he was entitled to workers' compensations benefits and earned no other wages.  During part of this time, Tellez was allegedly collecting unemployment benefits in addition to workers' compensation benefits.           

For each of the 23 weeks that Tellez collected unemployment benefits, from November 2005 to April 2006, he allegedly notified DUA that he was not working, but that he was able to work and was available for work despite collecting disability benefits and claiming to AIG that he was unable to work.  The alleged fraudulent activities were initially detected by investigators from the DUA.  Tellez was paid unemployment benefits totaling $14,309.

Indictments were returned against Rigoberto Tellez on June 12, 2008.  Yesterday, Tellez was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court where he entered a plea of not guilty and was released on his own personal recognizance.  Tellez is due back in court on September 9, 2008 for a pre-trial conference.  Clerk Magistrate Connie Wong presided over the arraignment.

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

Assistant Attorney General Jeremy Eisemann of Attorney General Martha Coakley's Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division is prosecuting this case.  The Insurance Fraud Bureau of Massachusetts assisted in the case.

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