Convicted identity thief working at Massachusetts unemployment office scammed benefits, feds say

A woman who worked for the Massachusetts Department of Unemployment Assistance after getting out of prison for identity theft got right back to her old tricks, the feds say, claiming she used her position to try to swindle money out of the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance for her, her husband and their seven fictional children.
Tiffany Pacheco, also known as Tiffany Tavery or Tiffany Wolfe, 35, and her husband Arthur Pacheco, 47, were both arrested in Texas on Thursday. Both are charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, and Tiffany Pacheco is also charged with wire fraud.
Though Tiffany Pacheco in 2017 was sentenced to two years in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and then sent back to prison after passing “numerous fraudulent checks,” she still managed to get set up in a gig at the Department of Unemployment Assistance shortly after she got out, per the criminal complaint against her.
The pair initially submitted claims in June that they’d made no money in 2019, and had no kids, the feds say. And then Pacheco used her position at the state to change those claims, bumping their 2019 income to $240,000, and claiming they had seven children relying on them, Lelling’s office said.
“Various changes to these PUA claims caused an increase in weekly benefit allowance, increase in monetary additions, and caused multiple previous weeks of benefits to be immediately issued,” court documents say. Each of their benefits jumped from the minimum of $267 a week to the maximum of $833 a week.
Further, Arther Pacheco wasn’t actually eligible to receive any PUA funds at all — because he himself was locked up from April until September, and then again from later that month until November, the feds say. In November, he called the Massachusetts unemployment office and told them he’d only been behind bars for a month, according to authorities. His wife vouched for that, the feds say.
A search warrant for their New Bedford apartment on Sept. 22 turned up “various tools of identity fraud,” including an ID laminator, 100 blank ID cards, 68 hologram overlays, 150 card lamination sheets and 649 sheets of blank checks, according to police. Law enforcement also seized approximately $17,000 cash and a notebook that appeared to contain the personal identifying information
The state unemployment office fired Tiffany Pacheco the next day.
Asked about the charges, Gov. Charlie Baker said he doesn’t know much about this specific case, but, “We’ve been in constant contact with federal authorities, the FBI, state police, U.S. Attorney’s office practically every day since all the issues associated with fraud that were attached the unemployment insurance program dating back to March, and there have been arrests and there have been recoveries as a result of the work we’ve done together.”
— Lisa Kashinsky contributed 

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