BOSTON – A former New Bedford resident and ex-employee of the state's Department of Unemployment Assistance pleaded guilty Monday to wire fraud and identity theft, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.

Tiffany Pacheco, known as Tiffany Tavery, 35, admitted to six counts of wire fraud, one count of aggravated identity theft, and one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud for her part in a scheme to fraudulently claim Pandemic Unemployment Assistance funds.

Pacheco was hired by the department in April 2020, shortly after her release from federal prison on a conviction for aggravated identity theft.

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While working for the department, she misused her position to submit fraudulent unemployment claim information on behalf of herself and her husband Arthur Pacheco.

Arthur was incarcerated in Texas until Sept. 4, 2020, making him ineligible for pandemic unemployment benefits.

Unemployment claims submitted for the couple in June 2020 reflected a 2019 income of $0 and no dependents.

In July 2020, Tiffany accessed the department's computer system and changed claim information for herself and Arthur to increase the amount of benefits they would receive.

She increased the reported 2019 income for her and Arthur to more than $240,000 and the number of their dependents to seven before using her access to verify the information without the required documents.

Both Tiffany and Arthur also denied that Arthur had been incarcerated for much of 2020, misrepresenting the period of time Arthur was in prison.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, a search of the New Bedford apartment where Tiffany and Arthur lived uncovered various tools of identity fraud.

These included an ID laminator, 100 blank ID cards, 68 hologram overlays, 150 card lamination sheets and 649 sheets of blank checks.

Law enforcement also seized about $17,000 in cash and a notebook that appeared to contain the personal identifying information of multiple people.

On Sept. 23, 2020, the department terminated Tiffany Pacheco’s employment.

Tiffany was indicted in January 2021 along with her husband Arthur, who pleaded guilty in July 2021 and is scheduled to be sentenced on Nov. 18.

Pacheco will be sentenced in January 2022.

She faces up to 20 years in prison with up to three years of supervised release and a $250,000 fine.

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