Man collected over $150K through fake COVID unemployment claims: Queens DA

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QUEENS —  A Queens man has been charged with several crimes, including grand larceny and identity theft, after he allegedly filed multiple fake unemployment claims to receive COVID relief funds, authorities said.

Keijohn Graham, 21, filed unemployment claims under 13 different names, collecting more than $150,000 from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economics Security (CARES) Act, according to District Attorney Melinda Katz.

“This defendant saw this additional support for the needy as an opportunity to fill his own pockets and filed unemployment claims in various names to collect more than $150,000 in benefits. This fraud during the pandemic costs our country, and our state, billions of dollars. We will not stand for this in Queens County. My Office will continue to diligently investigate these types of crimes and bring those responsible to justice,” Katz said in a statement. 

Graham was arraigned on a 68-count indictment, charging him with second-degree grand larceny, first degree identity theft, falsifying business records, criminal possession of public benefit cards, criminal possession of stolen property and offering false instrument for filing.

He was arrested on March 23 after authorities conducted a search warrant and seized numerous documents and credit cards, including 13 Department of Labor benefit debit cards from his Far Rockaway home.

If convicted, Graham faces up to 15 years in prison.

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