(CBS Connecticut) — Connecticut state prosecutors say seven post office workers have been arrested,  charged with under-reporting their pay from the Postal Service in order to fraudulently collect unemployment benefits.  In total,  the seven collected more than $110, 000 in workers’ comp.

The Connecticut Chief State’s Attorney’s office says the arrests follow a complaint from the state Labor Department,  and a joint investigation by the Unemployment Compensation Fraud Unit in the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, and the U.S. Postal Service Office of Inspector General.

In each case,  the warrants state that the postal worker under-reported the number of hours worked when using either the telephone “Tele-benefits” call-in system, or when reporting on-line.

The seven are identified as 57-year-old Jewel Bowman of West Haven, accsed of collecting more than $17,000; 38-year-old Erin Chappel of Niantic,  accused of collecting more than $8,000; 61-year-old Maurice James of Hartford,  accused of collecting more than $7,00; 31-year-old Rafael Jaworski of Stratford, accused of collecting more than $14,000;  25-year-old Jrae Little of Springfield, Mass., accused of collecting more than $8,000; 30-year-old Kelly Johnson of Torrington,  accused of collecting more than $36,000,  and 47-year-old Robbin Smith of Torrington, accused of collecting more than $21,000.

They’re accused of fraudulently collecting benefits at various times starting in 2010 through this month.  In each case, the recommendation is that the worker repay the money collected,  plus a 50 percent penalty.

All seven are due in Superior Court in New Britain later this month.


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