Johnston man pleads to unemployment insurance benefit fraud

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Vladimir Catano, 35, of Johnston, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses and one count of fraudulent access to a computer system for the purpose of obtaining money under false or fraudulent pretenses. He collected nearly $40,000 of unemployment insurance benefits he was not entitled to receive. Under the terms of the plea, Catano was sentenced to 10 years probation and ordered to pay $39,972 in restitution at a rate of no less than $333 per month.

The state alleged that between December 24, 2011 and June 27, 2015, Catano failed to report his weekly earnings to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (RIDLT) when he verified his wages using the RIDLT Teleserve voice response system to authorize his weekly unemployment benefits.  While collecting unemployment benefits, Catano was working for General Cable Industries, LLC in Lincoln.

“Despite what many may think, unemployment insurance fraud is not a victimless crime.  It's our business community and those who legitimately need unemployment insurance that are the victims,” said Kilmartin in a statement.

The case was initiated by RIDLT fraud investigators and then referred to the Rhode Island State Police.

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