Two Individuals Ordered to Pay Over $15,000 in Fraudulently Obtained Unemployment Insurance Benefits

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that two Rhode Island residents have been ordered to repay $15,371 to the State after pleading in Providence County Superior Court to fraudulently obtaining unemployment insurance benefits by not reporting earned wages to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT).


Richard Geminiani (age 57), of Woonsocket, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses. Geminiani was given a four-year deferred sentence and ordered to pay $6,477 in restitution to the State. Between January 2014 and February 2016, Geminiani was employed with a window installation company and collected unemployment insurance benefits while failing to report his wages to DLT.


Sareth Chea (age 38), of Providence, pleaded nolo contendere to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500. Chea was sentenced to four years of probation and ordered to pay $8,840 in restitution to the State. Between January 2019 and July 2019, Chea worked at a bank and collected unemployment insurance benefits while failing to report her wages to DLT. Chea is a former DLT employee and was familiar with reporting requirements.


“Regardless of circumstances, when individuals collect benefits that they aren’t entitled to, they reduce the amount of benefits that are available to Rhode Islanders who really need them,” said Attorney General Neronha. “While the conduct of the defendants happened prior to this year, I think everyone has witnessed during our government’s response to the COVID pandemic how critical these funds are to those who are really struggling. Although the pandemic may have heightened the public’s awareness of issues related to unemployment benefits, this work has always been important because of its impact on our ability to help those who need it.”


The Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit and DLT led the investigation into the cases. Special Assistant Attorney General Carole McLaughlin prosecuted the cases on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.

The nation's top infectious disease expert says getting the community involved in the coronavirus vaccine process is a must. On ABC's This Week, Dr. Anthony Fauci [[ FOW-chee ]] said people who are trusted in their area should get involved. He said they have to show that the vaccine is safe and that the process has been transparent. Fauci admitted they're going up against some with an anti-vax sentiment and those who are skeptical of the current effort.       President-elect Joe Biden is gaining more votes after a partial recount in Wisconsin. The recount did not find evidence of fraud, as President Trump had claimed, and even widened Biden's victory in the state by an additional 87 votes. The Democratic leader of the Wisconsin Elections Commission said she would certify Biden's victory today. President Trump tweeted over the weekend that he plans to file a lawsuit over the matter.        A former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has concerns about those heading up the nation's security. Mike Mullen told NBC's Meet The Press he's worried about the Trump loyalists who are currently in top Pentagon positions. He said many unhelpful things can be done before President-elect Joe Biden takes office January 20th.        White House senior advisor Jared Kushner will be heading to the Middle East this week. Kushner and his team will reportedly travel to Qatar and Saudi Arabia to help resolve a dispute between the neighboring Gulf countries. Kushner is expected to meet with the emir of Qatar and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the coming days.        Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson says he smoked weed before getting in the ring Saturday for his much-hyped fight with Roy Jones Jr. The eight-round exhibition match that took place at L.A.'s Staples Center was Tyson's first match in 15 years. It ended in a draw. Fifty-four-year-old "Iron" Mike talked told reporters afterwards it's just what he does.        An actor from the original Star Wars trilogy is dead. The daughter of 85-year-old David Prowse says he had COVID-19. It was reported that Prowse had prostate cancer back in 2018. He is known for playing the iconic character Darth Vader. Prowse physically acted as the character, but did not voice the role.