Jose Sepulveda (aka Jose Perez), age 39, with a last known address of 1218 Elmwood Avenue, Warwick, pled nolo contendere today before Superior Court Justice Jeffrey A. Lanphear to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses for collecting more than $4,000 in unemployment insurance benefits for his deceased girlfriend, Darlene Brady.
Sepulveda was sentenced to seven years, with one year to serve at the Adult Correctional Institute and six years suspended with probation. He was also ordered to pay restitution in the amount of $4,430 to the State of Rhode Island.
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove that between November 7, 2011, and December 27, 2011, Sepulveda applied for extended unemployment insurance benefits in the name of his deceased girlfriend, Darlene Brady, when he called into the RI-DLT Teleserve phone system on a weekly basis using Brady’s personal identification number and fraudulently authorized unemployment benefits in her name.
“This case was unique in that the benefits fraudulently obtained were for a deceased individual, making it particularly heinous – the defendant did not just cheat the State of Rhode Island, he did so using the name of his recently deceased girlfriend,” said Attorney General Peter F. Kilmartin. “When a person passes away, the normal reaction of those they leave behind is to mourn, not to try to use the death to fraudulently claim monetary benefits. The sentenced imposed upon this defendant reflects the callous nature of his crime.”
"By pooling our resources, state agencies can multiply our effectiveness rooting out those who misuse the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund and recouping overpayments," said DLT Director Charles J. Fogarty. "I appreciate the efforts of DLT's UI Fraud Unit investigating this case and referring it to the RI State Police and Office of the RI Attorney General for a much-deserved criminal prosecution and jail sentence."
The investigation was led by Detective Thomas Jaques of the Rhode Island State Police Auto Theft and Insurance Fraud Unit. Special Assistant Attorney General Genevieve Allaire Johnson prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of Attorney General and the State of Rhode Island. Allaire Johnson prosecutes all unemployment insurance fraud, worker's compensation fraud, prevailing wage violations and labor standards fraud cases.