Husband, wife charged in unemployment benefits fraud scheme

An inmate and his wife pleaded not guilty today to charges that they stole more than $58,000 in unemployment benefits during incarceration, officials said.

Kevin Smith and Nancy Smith, both 42, were arraigned today in Suffolk Superior Court, Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office said. The pair were charged with unemployment fraud, larceny over $250 by false pretenses, conspiracy to commit a crime, and conspiracy to commit larceny, Coakley’s office said in a statement.

Kevin Smith, of Mattapan, was ordered held on $5,000 bail. Nancy Smith, of Somerville, was released on personal recognizance. Both were ordered to check in with probation twice a week by telephone, alert the attorney general’s office if they gain or lose a job, and to not seek any public benefit without alerting the office, the statement said.

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They are due back in court Dec. 13 for a pretrial conference.

Kevin Smith had appalied for and begun receiving benefits in January 2009. In August of that year, he was incarcerated on unrelated charges, the attorney general’s office said.

Investigators found that during his incarceration, Kevin Smith allegedly gave Nancy instructions via telephone on how to process his unemployment claims, the statement said.

Nancy Smith, or someone acting on her behalf, allegedly falsely certified Kevin’s unemployment claims, saying that he had been available to work between August 2009 and July 2011, when he was incarcerated.

Further investigation found that Nancy Smith cashed Kevin’s unemployment checks and shared them with him, Coakley’s office said.

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