Department of Labor and Training employee charged with stealing 132 checks totaling over $115,000 – Fall River Reporter
Colonel Darnell S. Weaver, Rhode Island State Police Superintendent and Director of Public Safety, announces that members of the State Police Financial Crimes Unit have arrested a female Foster for a alleged theft of approximately 132 paychecks totaling $115,252.72 while working in her capacity as Chief Labor Standards Examiner with the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training.
On May 5, 2022, Wendy Antonelli, 59, of 174 Howard Hill Road, Foster, was arrested and charged with obtaining money under false pretences, general forgery and forgery and money laundering.
The investigation by the State Police Financial Crimes Unit was initiated after receiving a complaint from the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. Antonelli served as Chief Labor Standards Examiner for approximately seven years.
In her capacity as Chief Labor Standards Examiner, Antonelli was responsible for overseeing the investigation of employee misclassifications and the distribution of misclassification settlement checks to employees of companies under investigation. investigation. An employee is misclassified when his employer mistakenly considers him to be an independent contractor. The investigation found that Antonelli allegedly fraudulently obtained employee classification error checks intended for approximately 132 people, forged their signatures, and deposited the checks in his bank accounts for personal use. She is also accused of allegedly transferring money to other bank accounts in an attempt to hide the source of the funds.
Based on their investigation, detectives obtained a warrant for Ms Antonelli’s arrest. She went to state police headquarters where she was arraigned and released on a personal recognizance of $10,000.
Anyone who believes they are entitled to a paycheck should contact the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training’s Division of Labor and Safety Regulation at (401) 462-8568.
A person found guilty of obtaining money under false pretences in excess of $10,000.00 may be sentenced to up to ten years in prison and/or fined up to $5,000.00 or both. A person found guilty of forgery and forgery in general may be sentenced to up to ten years in prison or fined up to $1,000.00, or both. A person found guilty of money laundering may be sentenced to up to twenty years in prison and/or fined up to $500,000.00, or both.