Sept. 10, 2021 By Christian Murray
A 21-year-old Far Rockaway man who allegedly filed bogus claims to collect more than $150,000 in unemployment insurance has been indicted on grand larceny charges, the Queens District Attorney’s office announced Thursday.
Keijohn Graham, of Hanson Court in Far Rockaway, allegedly bilked the system by illegally tapping into the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program authorized under the CARES Act. He allegedly filed fraudulent claims using the names of 13 unknown individuals.
Graham, who faces up to 15 years in prison if convicted, was slapped with a 68-count indictment in Queens County Supreme Court charging him with grand larceny, identity theft, falsifying business records, criminal possession of stolen property and filing false documents. He was arraigned Thursday and ordered to return to court Nov. 30.
“This worldwide health pandemic has been devastating and led to millions of Americans losing their jobs. As alleged, this defendant saw this additional support for the needy as an opportunity to fill his own pockets,” said Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz. “This fraud during the pandemic costs our country, and our state, billions of dollars.”
Graham was arrested back in March after authorities conducted a court-authorized search of his home and seized numerous documents and credit cards, including 13 Dept. of Labor benefit debit cards. The fraud allegedly took place between October 2020 and March 2021.
“We have zero tolerance for thieves,” said NY Department of Labor Commissioner Roberta Reardon. “Stealing from a system that is providing a lifeline to New Yorkers in need is unconscionable and doing it during a public health crisis is unforgivable.”