PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha announced that a Providence man has been ordered to repay $19,824 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).
Christopher Berarducci (age 49) pleaded nolo contendere to one count of obtaining money under false pretenses over $1,500 and one count of fraudulent access to a computer system before Superior Court Magistrate Patrick T. Burke on October 28, 2020.
Berarducci was given a five-year suspended sentence with probation and ordered to pay $19,824 in restitution to the State.
“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. “The strain that the COVID-19 pandemic has placed upon our state’s unemployment insurance benefit system has heightened the public’s awareness of how critical that program is. Holding those accountable who attempt to cheat the system is important because of the negative impact that conduct has on our state’s ability to help those who need it.”
Had the case proceeded to trial, the State was prepared to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that between October 2017 and May 2019, Berarducci was employed in the construction industry and collected unemployment insurance benefits while failing to report his wages to DLT
The Rhode Island State Police Financial Crimes Unit and DLT led the investigation into the case. Special Assistant Attorney General Carole McLaughlin prosecuted the case on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General.