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Thursday, April 08, 2010

Former RTM Member, Daughter Charged With Mail Fraud

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UPDATE A former eight-year member of Westport’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) and his daughter have been indicted on federal charges of defrauding the State of Connecticut by mail of more than $300,000 in unemployment benefits.Hymans-100.jpg
Ralph Hymans: Could be sentenced to 20 years. File photo

Ralph Hymans, 86, now living in Summerville, S.C., and his daughter, Julie Hymans, 39, of Bridgeport, were named in an indictment returned March 30 by a grand jury in Hartford, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said today.

The indictment was unsealed Wednesday upon the arrest of the defendants, prosecutors said.

The senior Hymans, named in the indictment as Monroe Ralph Hymans, served on the RTM three separate times—from 1991 to 1993, from 1995 to 1999, and again from 2005 to 2007 representing District 5 in the Greens Farms area.

Tom Carson, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office, said Hymans appeared before a magistrate judge in Charleston, S.C. Wednesday and was released on a non-surety bond (no collateral posted), which he said is common in federal cases.

Though no date is known yet, Carson said Hymans will be brought back to Connecticut to be arraigned in federal court here, possibly Bridgeport.

Julie Hymans was arraigned in the U.S. District Court in Bridgeport Wednesday, and she was also released on a non-surety bond, Carson said.

The indictment alleges that from approximately January 1995 to April 2009, the father and daughter defrauded the Connecticut Department of Labor by collecting approximately $317,313 in unemployment benefits to which they were not entitled.

The indictment further alleges that the senior Hymans used both his real name and the fictitious identities “Ronald Monroe” and “Monroe Hyams” to fraudulently collect benefits.

If convicted on six counts of mail fraud and aiding and abetting charges, the two face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Hymans was married to Lynn L. Hymans, a former employee of the town’s building department, who died in August 2008 following a fall at their South Carolina home.  She was 68 and had retired a year earlier.

The indictment said that from in or about January 1995 and continuing until about April 2009 the defendants “devised and intended to devise a scheme and artifice to defraud and obtain money and property from the Department of Labor by means of false and fraudulent representations and promises and did knowingly, willfully and unlawfully use and cause the use of the United States mails for the purpose of executing the scheme.”

It said about January 1995, Ralph Hymans filed his first unemployment insurance (UI) claim with the Department of Labor, giving his address as 1 Rex Lane, P.O. Box 114, Greens Farms, CT, 06436, a residential property he owned at the time.

Based upon the information submitted with the initial claim, he began receiving weekly benefits, which continued to September 1995, the indictment said.

The indictment further alleged that in about January 1996, he filed a second claim for UI benefits, wherein he falsely claimed to have worked for Monroe Management in the months of September, October, November, and December 1995, as well as a portion of January 1996. 

These five months qualified him for benefits lasting until September 1996, it said.

The indictment said Hymans continued a pattern of falsely claiming to have earned wages from Monroe Management for a portion of the year, usually three quarters, and then filing a UI claim against those wages the following year. It said this continued through December 2008.

It said Hymans in October 2007 applied for and obtained a Post Office Box from The Mail Depot, located at 1290 Post Road, Fairfield, and directed that all of the mail delivered to this box be forwarded to his then new residence at 124 Amen Corner, Summerville, S.C. 29482.

It was further part of the scheme that Ralph Hymans falsely reported that Julie Hymans received wages from Monroe Management in the second quarter of 2003, the indictment said. Ralph Hymans, using the identity of Julie Hymans, initially filed for UI benefits in November 2003, it said.

The two then continued a pattern of falsely claiming that Julie Hymans earned wages from Monroe Management and then filing UI claims against those wages in the following year, the indictment said.

From December 2003 to March 2008, the Department of Labor paid approximately $64,959 to Ralph Hymans and Julie Hymans under the assumed identity of Julie Hymans, indictment said.

In May 2006, the indictment said Ralph Hymans filed a UI claim under the assumed and fictitious identity of Ronald Monroe. He continued to receive payments in this manner until March 2009, in the approximate amount of $38,175, the indictment said.

In October 2005, Ralph Hymans caused to be filed a UI claim under the false and fictitious name of Monroe Hymans, the indictment said. He continued to receive benefits until March 2009 under this name in the approximate amount of $46,629, it said.
____
James Lomuscio contributed reporting for this story. An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported on the terms served on the RTM by Hymans, inadvertently leaving out his last term from 2005 to 2007.

Posted 04/08/10 at 06:57 PM

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