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Man sentenced to 27 months for COVID-19 pandemic unemployment fraud: Over $207K stolen

Kahleke Taylor, also known as “Flex,” 23, from Albany, has been sentenced to 27 months in prison for conducting a mail and wire fraud scheme, illegally obtaining over $200,000 in COVID-19 pandemic-related unemployment insurance benefits.

The sentencing was announced by various U.S. agencies, including Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (USDOL-OIG), and the United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS). Taylor, who pleaded guilty, used social media to gather personal information from individuals to file fraudulent online unemployment insurance claims with the New York State Department of Labor (NYSDOL). Between September 2020 and June 2021, his fraudulent activities resulted in benefit payments totaling $207,004.


In addition to the prison term, U.S. District Judge Mae A. D’Agostino imposed a two-year supervised release and ordered Taylor to pay $207,004 in restitution to the State of New York, and to forfeit a $192,731 money judgment. Co-defendants Taquan Parker and Olajuwon Sutherland, also involved in the scheme, received respective sentences of 13 months in prison and 3 years of probation.

The case, prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Joshua R. Rosenthal and Joseph S. Hartunian, was investigated by HSI, USDOL-OIG, USPIS, and the New York State Inspector General’s Office. This case forms part of broader efforts by the Department of Justice’s COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to combat pandemic-related fraud, encouraging public reporting of such fraud through the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline.