Monroe Ralph Hymans, 86, a former resident of Westport and member of the Representative Town Meeting, and his daughter, Julie, 39, has been charged by federal attorneys with six counts of mail fraud after allegedly receiving $300,000 in unemployment benefits.

Hymans, who simply went by the first name "Ralph" in the 50th anniversary booklet for the RTM, was on the RTM from 1991--93 and 1995--99. He later moved to Summerville, N.C., and his daughter lives in Bridgeport.

The indictment alleges that from approximately January 1995 to April 2009, the two defrauded the Connecticut Department of Labor by collecting $317,313 in unemployment benefits that they were not entitled to. Hymans allegedly used his real name and the fictitious identities "Ronald Monroe" and "Monroe Hyams" to collect the benefits.

According a press release about the indictment, the federal and state Unemployment Insurance System is designed to provide benefits to people who are out of work due to no fault of their own and it's administered for the federal government by state employment offices. The U.S. Department of Labor oversees the unemployment insurance system and the federal government funds all administrative costs, including salaries and office expenses for the employment offices. Benefits paid to unemployed workers from the private sector are financed by taxes on employers in the Connecticut by the state's Department of Labor.

If convicted, the two face a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years and a fine of up to $250,000 on each of the six counts.

-- Anthony Karge