25 Investigates: Former Mass. Dept. of Unemployment Assistance employee arrested on federal fraud charges

BOSTON — An ex-employee of the Massachusetts Department of Labor was arrested last night in San Antonio, TX accused of misusing her position to submit fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA) claims for herself and her husband.

Tiffany Tavery Pacheco and Arthur Pacheco, who until recently were New Bedford residents, were charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Tiffany was also charged with one count of wire fraud, according to US Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.

The couple was arrested in San Antonio on Thursday night and made an initial court appearance in Texas on Friday.

Tiffany was hired by the Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) in April. She allegedly claimed that she and her husband made $240,000 in 2019 and claimed seven dependents, and used her access to the PUA system to verify the increased 2019 income on both of their claims without the required income verification documents.

Just before her DUA employment, Tiffany was released from federal prison following a conviction for aggravated identity theft. Her husband, Arthur, was also incarcerated until September 2020 and, therefore, ineligible for PUA funds.

25 Investigates’ Ted Daniel asked DUA why an individual with a history of fraud was working at DUA. An agency spokesperson told us via email:

“The Department of Unemployment Assistance continues to cooperate with this investigation and cannot comment until that investigation is complete.”

Federal authorities executed a search warrant in September on the couple’s New Bedford apartment and they say they found various tools used for identity theft and $17,000 in cash.

Download the free Boston 25 News app for up-to-the-minute push alerts

>> Complete local and national coronavirus coverage here


- Complete local and national coronavirus coverage here

- Follow us on Facebook and Twitter | Watch Boston 25 NOW

- Download our free apps for your phone and smart TV