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7 U.S. Postal Service Employees Accused of Unemployment Fraud

The seven postal employees are accused of collecting $110,000.

Seven U.S. Postal Service employees were arrested today and charged with allegedly illegally collecting more than $110,000 in Unemployment Compensation benefits, according to a press release.

The arrests are the result of a joint investigation conducted by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General. The investigation was prompted by a complaint from the Connecticut Department of Labor.

According to the arrest warrant affidavits, the seven are accused of grossly under-reporting the wages they received while employed by the Postal Service in order to fraudulently collect unemployment benefits, the release states.

Charged with one count each of Unemployment Compensation Fraud and one count each of Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community, and released on a $10,000 non-surety bond each were:

  • JEWEL M. BOWMAN, age 57, of 36 Meadowbrook Court, West Haven, accused of collecting approximately $17,204 in benefits from January 2010 through January 2014. 
  • ERIN C. CHAPPEL, age 38, of 18 Burnap Road, Niantic, accused of collecting approximately $8,841 in benefits from March through December 2013.
  • RAFAEL A. JAWORSKI, age 31, of 95 Swanson Avenue, Stratford, accused of collecting approximately $14,016 in benefits from February 2013 through June 2014.
  • MAURICE J. JAMES, age 61, of 600 Asylum Avenue, Hartford, accused of collecting approximately $7,206 in benefits from August 2011 through September 2013.
  • JRAE S. LITTLE, age 25, of Springfield, Mass., accused of collecting approximately $8,661 in benefits from November 2013 through April 2014. 
  • KELLY L. JOHNSON, age 30, of 117 Birchwood Drive, Torrington, accused of collecting approximately $36,625 in benefits from February 2010 through November 2013. 
  • ROBBIN A. SMITH, age 47, of 21 East Center Street, Torrington, accused of collecting approximately $21,303 in benefits from June 2010 through May 2013.

The seven are scheduled to appear in Superior Court, G.A. No. 15, New Britain, on June 24, 2014. The charges against them are merely accusations and all of they are presumed innocent unless and until found guilty. 

Larceny in the First Degree by Defrauding a Public Community is a class B felony punishable by not less than one year nor more than 20 years in prison and/or up to a $15,000 fine. Unemployment Compensation Fraud in excess of $500 is a class D felony punishable by not less than 1 year nor more than 5 years in prison and/or up to a $5,000 fine.

The cases are being prosecuted by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit, which was established under a partnership with the Connecticut Department of Labor to investigate and prosecute alleged fraud in the unemployment compensation program. The unit is working with all local and state law enforcement agencies, as well as with federal agencies. 

The Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit is grateful for the assistance it received from the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Torrington Police Department and the West Hartford Police Department.

Kevin June 14, 2014 at 06:54 AM
These clowns are all overpaid to begin with. No wonder the Post Office is in trouble. You pay a bunch of people with G.E.D.s 4 times more than the job is worth and then wonder why they are losing money. Same thing happened to the car companies. They should have thanked their lucky stars that they had a job with the government.
Paula June 14, 2014 at 11:24 AM
@Kevin the Post Office is not "in trouble". They are actually surviving nicely, in SPITE of the fact that the GOP Congress in the 2006 put them in a bad way purposely by making them “pre-pay” into a fund that covers health care costs for future retired employees...health costs neither you nor I as taxpayers pay for, by the way. The USPS runs as a business, not a government agency, but under the mandate, the USPS is required to make an annual $5.5 billion payment over ten years - something the Repubs NEVER ask of other businesses (who often get taxpayer-funded corporate welfare from you and me). Contrary to the beliefs of the public critical of the Post Office, they do not fund their pensions via the taxpayers, thanks to the Postal Reorganization Act in 1971. They run as a business not reliant on government or taxpayers relies on postage for revenue and, for the most part, have not used taxpayer money since 1982, when postage stamps became “products” instead of forms of taxation. The truth is the GOP wants to privatize our postal service in a manner like UPS and FedEx. While now the postal service delivers virtually everywhere, UPS won't take packages to rural parts of the reddest states. They use the postal service to finish their routes, so you pay for BOTH. Once it's all privatized, a delivery service can (as they do now) determine who they deliver to and how much; and you won't have much choice. The reddest states will lose big. If you think it's great that Texas makes poor women drive hundreds of miles to get health check ups at women's clinic, then you'll love that the people who vote for that kind of madness will have to travel the same amount to pick up their mail. Karma can be harsh mistress, to be sure.
Jim June 14, 2014 at 02:50 PM
When you look at the amounts they obtained, and the length of time it took to get this money, they are truly idiots. It will cost them far more than what they got in legal fees alone to try and keep their sorry a$$es out of prison. That coupled with losing their jobs and having to pay restitution makes it a bad move to even think they could get away with it.
Marci June 17, 2014 at 09:26 AM
You have to wonder how many more people are out there defrauding the government for benefits.
Socialist Worker June 17, 2014 at 02:27 PM
How many Fairfield county bankers went to jail after the housing bubble burst? I guess if its working class people this a major crime but if its a banker than no laws apply. The government maintains massive databases on everyone's communications. Why is it that the state and federal government database cross checking allowed this money to be paid out? Not enough computer nerds to write programs? The only way to underreport wages and receive compensation is to be partially unemployed. In that situation the state asks you to estimate wages and hours you will receive. If you are totally unemployed than it is not possible to be overpaid since the system determines your eligibility and payment by paperwork and computer. ...17,204 in benefits from January 2010 through January 2014. An average error of approximately $83 a week at $15 an hour about 5.5 hours over. Interestingly that appears to be close to the difference between 34 hours a week and 40 hours.

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