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Wanted fugitive working for state contractor


Fox Undercover has caught a wanted fugitive working for a state contractor, with full and easy access to people's personal information.

The woman has been wanted on theft and forgery charges for almost a decade, raising questions about how she was hired in the first place.

Maureen Simonetti is a manager for a company called Maximus, which was hired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to provide customer service for hundreds of thousands of people who use MassHealth for their healthcare.

It's not difficult to find out Simonetti’s legal problems.

Type her name into Google and you’ll discover a wanted poster from the Collier County Sheriff's Office in Florida.

But Simonetti's past is now catching up with her, even though she doesn't want to own up to it.

Fox 25’s Mike Beaudet caught up with Simonetti outside her job in downtown Boston.

Beaudet: “Hi Maureen. I'm Mike Beaudet with Fox 25 News. Isn't this you right here?”

Simonetti: “No, it's not me.

Beaudet: “Maureen Simonetti?”

Simonetti: “Nope.”

Beaudet: “You're a wanted fugitive in Florida. Why haven't you cleaned up that case? Come on. This is you.”

Fox Undercover found out there are actually multiple warrants out for Simonetti’s arrest.

One warrant dates back to when she worked as a store manager at Blockbuster in Naples, Florida in 2001.

According to the Collier County Sheriff's Office incident report, over a period of four days, Simonetti “…removed without permission several deposit bags from the office... containing $21,941.16 in cash and checks..." and never deposited the money into the Blockbuster account at Bank of America.

Simonetti pleaded no contest in 2002 to grand theft charges, agreeing to pay back the $21,941.

But then she violated her probation by leaving Florida without telling her probation officer and failing to pay restitution, which resulted in an arrest warrant being issued.

As for the theft and forgery charges listed on the wanted poster, they date back to 2002 when Simonetti's own cousin went to the Collier County Sheriff's office, saying Simonetti forged and cashed two of his checks.

Simonetti never showed up at court.

“Someone with this type of access can do a significant amount of damage to anyone,” said Robert Siciliano, a personal security and identity theft consultant. “Unfortunately in our country the social security number is the key to the kingdom. I mean it really opens up all the doors necessary for new account fraud, new bank accounts, new credit cards and even to take over existing accounts.”

In a statement, Maximus tells Fox Undercover, "We have no reason to believe that anyone's personal information was used inappropriately. We have completed our review of this matter, and the individual's employment with us has been terminated."

But there's no explanation from Maximus about why Simonetti was hired in the first place.

“Doing a simple Google search and finding a wanted poster with this person is kind of ridiculous that her employer or the state wasn't aware of that,” said security consultant Siciliano.
Jennifer Kritz, a spokesperson for the Executive Office of Health and Human Services says, "We take allegations like this one very seriously. Our understanding is that Maximus requires background investigations into all employees working on this contract."

But a Massachusetts background check, also known as a CORI, does not uncover out of state criminal records, such as Simonetti's grand theft case in Florida.

“Well the fact that Massachusetts allowed someone with this type of criminal history and even a warrant out for her arrest to be employed in a managerial position, tells me that the system is definitely broken, that there are probably unfortunately others out there,” said Siciliano.

And there is even more evidence the system is broken.

Simonetti's attorney, Michael Cerulli, says his client actually disclosed pleading no contest to grand theft when she filled out her application to work at Maximus in 2005.

However, she apparently didn't tell the company she never paid back the money.

Cerulli says his client is working to resolve the outstanding warrants, adding that she is a mother of two who has been a good employee and leading a crime free, spotless existence since moving back to Massachusetts.

Simonetti could be in a lot of trouble.
Her probation officer in Florida is recommending she go to jail for a year and be forced to pay back the 21 thousand dollars.

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