Albany man sentenced to over two years in prison for COVID benefits fraud

A 23-year-old Albany man was sentenced on Tuesday to over two years in prison for fraudulently obtaining more than $200,000 in unemployment benefits.

Kahleke Taylor, also known as “Flex,” admitted in federal court that he participated in a scheme to obtain COVID-19 pandemic unemployment benefits by using the personal information of other people, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said.

Taylor solicited information on social media. He then used that information to file online unemployment insurance applications to the New York State Department of Labor. He falsely claimed that a person had lost work at a hotel in Latham in 2020 due to a lack of work. From September 2020 through June 2021, the applications Taylor admitted to filing as part of the fraud scheme resulted in benefits payments of $207,004, prosecutors said.

He must pay $207,004 in restitution and $192,731 in a fine. Taylor was also sentenced to two years of post-release supervision.