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Unemployment fraud hit one of Rhode Island’s congressmen

The Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training reported that 43 percent of claims turned out to be suspected and confirmed fraud during the pandemic

Congressman David Cicilline speaks during an event in Providence in May 2021.Pat Greenhouse/Globe Staff

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Happy Friday and welcome to Rhode Map, your daily guide to everything happening in the Ocean State. I’m Dan McGowan and you can find me at the polo match this weekend. Follow me on Twitter @DanMcGowan or send tips to Dan.McGowan@globe.com.

ICYMI: Rhode Island was up to 152,187 confirmed coronavirus cases on Thursday, after adding 42 new cases. The most-recent overall daily test-positive rate was 0.7 percent. The state zero new deaths, keeping the total at 2,722. There were 37 people in the hospital, and 584,940 residents were fully vaccinated.


Turns out that even a member of Rhode Island’s congressional delegation got caught up in one of the unemployment insurance fraud schemes that swept the country during the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce’s congressional forum this week, US Representative David Cicilline disclosed that an unemployment claim was filed in his name.

A spokesman for Cicilline said the fraudulent claim was filed in July 2020.

In March, the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training (DLT) reported that 43 percent of claims turned out to be suspected and confirmed fraud during the pandemic, and about $37.6 million was paid out to confirmed fraudulent claims. Another $209.6 million was paid out to suspected fraudulent claims.

The good news is that it could have been much worse. The state believes it stopped at least $3.2 billion in payments to suspected fraudulent claims between March 2020 and March 2021.

In April, 15 Rhode Island residents were charged in a nationwide unemployment scheme, and the US attorney’s office said about $126,000 in claims were filed with the state DLT.

If you believe you were a victim of unemployment fraud, the DLT suggests following this guide to make a report.



⚓ City officials are attempting to oust about 15 people living in tents on a vacant lot in the West End, with police giving them 48 hours to clear out or face civil and criminal prosecution. Read more.

⚓ Tracey DeFusco bartended at Lupo’s for years. Now she and her business partner will open a new restaurant in part of the concert hall’s old Westminster Street space. Read more.

⚓ Most colleges and universities require students and, in some cases, employees, to be vaccinated before coming to campus in fall 2021. Here’s where each school stands. Read more.

⚓ Rhode Map readers have sent another round of Happy Birthday wishes to: Diana PinzonMaria Chester, former governor Lincoln AlmondJennie JohnsonScott Quinn (55), Jordan SeaberryCaitlin Howle (32), Lauren NiedelBrian JencunasMichael BeauregardAndy CutlerCharles RuggerioBrandon BellAdam KaneMike Dylag (65),  and Dr. Richard P. Belhumeur (70).

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⚓ Education: The medical school at Dartmouth College has dropped sanctions against all students it had found guilty of cheating on exams, a stunning reversal that came after students vigorously maintained their innocence. Read more.

Space: How much would you pay to hop a trip to space with Jeff Bezos? Read more.

Travel: Here are the best ways to experience Vermont this summer. Read more.

Sports: Everything you need to know about the Celtics coaching search. Read more.


Each day, Rhode Map offers a cheat sheet breaking down what’s happening in Rhode Island. Have an idea? E-mail us at RInews@globe.com.


⚓ Governor Dan McKee will sign the IGT/Twin River bill into law at noon.

⚓ US Representatives James Langevin and David Cicilline will hold a press conference on investing in the care economy at 10 a.m. at the Genesis Center on Potters Avenue in Providence.

⚓ The deadline for Rhode Island students to sign up for summer learning opportunities is at 5 p.m.

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Dan McGowan can be reached at dan.mcgowan@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @danmcgowan.