Former Westport RTM member guilty in jobless benefits fraud
Updated 5:36 pm, Monday, March 28, 2011
Ralph Hymans, a former member of the Westport Representative Town Meeting who regularly used then-First Selectwoman Diane Goss Farrell's Brown Bag luncheons as a pulpit to lobby for seniors' tax breaks with no income threshold, pleaded guilty Thursday to one count of mail fraud linked to a scheme in which he allegedly scammed more than $300,000 in unemployment benefits, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office in Connecticut.
Hymans, 87, allegedly filed numerous unemployment claims between 1996 and December 2008, falsely representing that he had worked for Monroe Management. A certified public accountant, he usually claimed he worked three-quarters of the year, according to the attorney's office.
After he left the state, according to the indictment, he opened a post office box in Fairfield and directed that unemployment checks be forwarded to his new residence in Summerville, S.C. He allegedly applied for benefits under various names, Monroe Ralph Hymans (his real name), Ronald Monroe and Monroe Hymans. His daughter, Julie Hymans, a 41-year-old Bridgeport resident, is awaiting trial for her role in the fraud, according to Tom Carson, spokesman for U.S. Attorney David Fein.
Hymans, once a Board of Finance candidate, allegedly defrauded the Department of Labor out of $312,804 over the course of the scheme. Sentencing is scheduled for June 14, at which time Hymans faces a maximum term of 20 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $250,000. The case is being investigated by the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Paul McConnell and Christopher Mattei.
Representative Town Meeting member Steve Rubin remembers Hymans, who claimed he was a Harvard grad.
"He frequented a lot of Westport restaurants and he lived a very pricey life," he added. "He was very loose with the dollar."
Rubin said Hymans was also a "high roller" at Positano's, a waterfront Italian restaurant.
Hymans and his wife Lynn moved to South Carolina sometime around 2007. However, his wife, nearly 20 years his junior, died a year later after suffering a serious head injury in a fall at their home. She had retired from a position in the town's Building Department one year prior. When the couple was in Westport, they lived on Rex Lane, off Greens Farms Road.
Rubin said he always found Hymans to be "another neighbor" and he thinks the old adage of, "You never know who your neighbor is" is appropriate in this case.
He added he "feels sorry for any blight" that Ralph Hymans "might have left on the honorable RTM."