Former MA Dept. of Labor employee indicted for unemployment benefits fraud

BOSTON — An ex-employee of the Massachusetts Department of Labor and her husband are accused of filing fraudulent Pandemic Unemployment Assistant (PUA) claims.

Tiffany Tavery Pacheco, 35, and Arthur Pacheco, 47, who until recently were New Bedford residents, were each indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud. Tiffany Pacheco was also indicted on five counts of wire fraud and Arthur Pacheco on two counts, according to US Attorney Andrew Lelling’s office.

The couple was arrested in San Antonio, TX last month and have been detained since.

Tiffany allegedly misused her position with the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance (DUA) to submit fraudulent PUA claim information on behalf of herself and her husband, Arthur, who was incarcerated in Texas until Sept. 4, 2020, and thus ineligible for PUA funds, according to charging documents.

Tiffany was hired by the Department of Unemployment Assistance in April 2020. 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.

When news of Tiffany’s arrest broke, 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 last September on the couple’s New Bedford apartment and they say they found various tools used for identity theft and $17,000 in cash.


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