6 R.I. residents charged in alleged unemployment fraud schemes

PROVIDENCE – A federal grand jury has returned four indictments charging six Rhode Island residents with allegedly executing schemes to defraud unemployment agencies in multiple states, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island said Thursday.

The six individuals were said to have applied for and received tens of thousands of dollars in regular and expanded unemployment benefits, at times using stolen identities, prosecutors said.

The charged individuals include:

  • Francois Parker of Providence – Two charges of wire fraud, one count of theft of government money, and two counts of possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Parker is alleged to have filed for benefits in Rhode Island, California, Arizona, Louisiana, Colorado, Texas, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Massachusetts. Six of those states allegedly paid Parker $77,254, while four states were said to have denied Parker’s claims.
  • Derrick Gadson of North Providence – Two counts of wire fraud, and one count each of theft of government property and aggravated identity theft. Gadson is alleged to have submitted fraudulent unemployment claims and for other benefits in Arizona and Massachusetts. Federal officials allege Gadson received $17,325 in funds he was not entitled to receive.
  • Rashaad Smith Muskelly of Lincoln – Two counts of wire fraud, and one count each of theft of government money and possession of a firearm by a prohibited person. Muskelly is alleged to have filed fraudulent claims in Rhode Island, California, Arizona, New York, Texas, Virginia, Nevada and Massachusetts. Federal prosecutors said that Muskelly collected $82,991 in fraudulent benefits, including $14,658 from the R.I. Department of Labor and Training.
  • Jamel Newman of Pawtucket, Darren Robinson of Providence and Rashaad Hill of Providence were named in a 16-count indictment, each being charged with conspiracy, wire fraud, theft of government funds and aggravated identity theft. The defendants were alleged to have conspired to defraud employment insurance benefit programs in California, Arizona, Nevada and Massachusetts. Federal prosecutors alleged that some of the applications for benefits used the names and stolen personal information of others.