BATAVIA, N.Y. (WROC) — A Genesee County woman has pleaded guilty in connection to COVID fraud, federal officials announced Wednesday.
According to U.S. Attorney Trini Ross, 37-year-old Danielle Tooley of Batavia pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges that carry a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine.
Prosecutors say between July 9 and December 4, 2020, Tooley applied for and collected unemployment benefits she was not entitled to in connection to COVID-19 relief programs.
Authorities say the scheme came to light after Tooely was arrested for criminal possession of a controlled substance during a traffic stop in Bergen in November 2020. They say a New York State Police Trooper observed a crack pipe inside the vehicle and Tooley admitted she had crack cocaine in her possession.
As police prepared to have Tooley’s vehicle towed, troopers recovered six New York State unemployment benefits cards issued to individuals other than Tooley. Further investigation revelated that Tooley consistently withdrew money from the bank accounts associated with the benefits cards.
Tooley is scheduled to be sentenced on August 17.