Listen Live

ALBANY, N.Y. – A New York woman pleaded guilty in federal court Wednesday after admitting she filed false unemployment insurance applications online with the state Labor Department to fraudulently receive more than $701,000 in benefits issued in the names of other people, prosecutors said.

>> Read more trending news

According to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of New York, Jamie Johnson, 36, of Albany, pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit mail fraud and aggravated identity theft. Prosecutors said Johnson fraudulently received $701,441 in unemployment insurance benefits.

Johnson admitted to receiving personal information from other people and using it to file false unemployment insurance applications in other people’s names, and then collected the resulting benefits, the news release stated.

Prosecutors said Johnson drove a Maserati sport utility vehicle to Capital Region banks to withdraw cash using debit cards tied to the benefits, the Albany Times-Union reported.

The vehicle, more than $200,000 in cash and multiple items of jewelry are subject to administrative forfeiture, according to the Justice Department news release.

Johnson also agreed to pay restitution in the amount of $701,441 to the state of New York, according to the release.

“Jamie Johnson used stolen identities to cheat a system designed to help unemployed New Yorkers as the pandemic raged in 2020 and 2021,” U.S. Attorney Carla Freedman said in a statement. “Johnson’s crimes ultimately did not pay — she is going to prison and she has forfeited hundreds of thousands of dollars in ill-gotten gains.

“Johnson’s prosecution is the result of a multi-agency initiative to pursue, stop and deter fraudsters who try to steal public funds and undermine the integrity of the unemployment insurance program.”

Johnson faces a maximum of 22 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of parole, according to WTEN-TV.

She is scheduled to be sentenced on June 22, the Times-Union reported.