Massachusetts Woman Pleads Guilty, Sentenced For Unemployment Fraud

                               

Boston, MA (CompNewsNetwork) - A Lynn, Massachusetts woman pled guilty in Suffolk Superior Court yesterday to charges that she schemed to collect over $5,000 in unemployment benefits while continuing to work.  Jodi Horton, age 33, was charged with Unemployment Fraud (22 counts) and Larceny Over $250.  Following a change of plea from not guilty to guilty, Suffolk Superior Court Judge Lloyd MacDonald sentenced Horton to two years in the House of Correction; sentence suspended for five years, and ordered her to pay restitution in the amount of $5,176.

Horton applied for unemployment benefits from the Massachusetts Department of Workforce Development’s Division of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in November 2005, while separated from her employer, and began receiving benefits from December 2005 through May 2006.  During part of this time, Horton was working full-time as a receptionist and failed to disclose her employment status to DUA.  

For each of the 22 weeks that Horton fraudulently collected unemployment benefits, from December 2005 through May 2006, she notified the DUA that she was not working, but that she was able to work and was available for work.  The fraudulent activities were initially detected by investigators from the DUA.  Horton was paid unemployment benefits totaling $5,176 while working and collecting.

Indictments were returned against Horton on February 22, 2007.  Horton was arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on June 18, 2008, at which time she entered a plea of not guilty and was released on personal recognizance.  Yesterday, Horton entered a change of plea to guilty in Suffolk Superior Court.

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 Joshua Pakstis of Attorney General Martha Coakley’s Insurance and Unemployment Fraud Division prosecuted this case with assistance from investigators from the Attorney General’s Office and investigator Mark St. Onge of DUA.

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