Providence woman charged with wage theft and check fraud

Providence woman charged with wage theft and check fraud


PROVIDENCE, R.I. – Attorney General Peter F. Neronha and Colonel James M. Manni, Superintendent of the Rhode Island State Police, announced that a Providence woman was charged by way of criminal information in Providence County Superior Court with wage theft and check fraud, following an investigation by the Rhode Island State Police (RISP), Department of Labor and Training (DLT), and Office of the Attorney General into allegations that she failed to pay over $22,000 in wages to a former employee from 2018 to 2019.


Patricia Kenney (age 37), owner of And Celebrate LLC, is charged with three counts of issuing a fraudulent check over $1,500 and one count of wage theft.


As alleged in the criminal information, the defendant is accused of failing to pay a former employee a total of $22,200 in wages between September 2018 and March 2019, while the former employee worked as a “creative director” for the defendant’s lifestyle media company.


During that time, it is alleged that the former employee performed web design and marketing services for the defendant and was not paid for what amounted to several months’ worth of work. In March 2021, the defendant issued three checks to her former employee totaling $22,200. All three checks were unable to be deposited due to insufficient funds in the defendant’s account.


Following the bounced checks, the former employee contacted the RISP and DLT, who initiated an investigation into the allegations against the defendant. The Office of the Attorney General subsequently joined the investigation and charged the defendant by way of criminal information in Superior Court.


The defendant is scheduled to be arraigned on January 19, 2022, in Providence County Superior Court.


Under Rhode Island law, wage theft violations, regardless of the amount in wages implicated, are only misdemeanor crimes. In 2021, Attorney General Neronha worked with members of the General Assembly and stakeholders to introduce legislation that would bolster protections for workers in Rhode Island against wage theft. The proposed legislation called for increased penalties for perpetrators of wage theft. Although the legislation ultimately did not pass during the 2021 legislative session, it is planned to be reintroduced during the current legislative session.


Trooper Erik A. Mills of the Rhode Island State Police, Fraud Investigator Joseph Szrom of the Department of Labor and Training, and Special Assistant Attorney General Carole L. McLaughlin and investigators from the Office of the Attorney General are leading the investigation and prosecution of the case.