Inmate and wife arraigned in scheme to scam unemployment benefits


BOSTON ( -- A man and his wife were arraigned Wednesday for unemployment fraud while the man was incarcerated, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

While 42-year-old Kevin Smith of Mattapan was an inmate from 2009 to 2011, he and his wife Nancy, schemed to defraud  the Department of Unemployment Assistance, Coakley said.

For the 97 weeks Smith was incarcerated, he instructed his wife over the phone how to convince officials that he was still able to work and eligible for unemployment benefits, Coakley said. Smith began receiving unemployment assistance in January of 2009, according to the Department of Unemployment Assistance, and in August of that year was convicted on unrelated charges.

The pair split the money Nancy Smith received on Kevin's behalf, a total of more than $58,000, according to Coakley. After indictments by a Suffolk County grand jury, the couple was arraigned Wednesday for 97 counts of unemployment fraud each, and a handful of other charges including conspiracy to commit larceny.

Both Nancy and Kevin Smith pleaded not guilty, and are set to return to Suffolk Superior Court on Dec. 13 for a pre-trial conference. Kevin Smith was held on $5,000 bail.

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