(NEWS10) – Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney announced Tuesday Matthew Baldwin, 23, of Malta, pleaded guilty to stealing more than $141,000 in unemployment benefits using multiple identities. He was sentenced to one and two-thirds to five years in state prison and ordered to pay $126,772 in restitution to the NYS Department of Labor.

Baldwin was ordered to forfeit $15,000 in cash and several expensive electronic devices, this will be used for part of the restitution.

Investigators say Baldwin created several unemployment claims using other identities and had the money sent to bank accounts in Schenectady County. He was arrested on April 1, 2021.

The DA says that Baldwin used the stolen funds to ‘live a life of luxury’ and take risky stock market bets. Police conducted a search of his home and were able to seize assets and bank accounts.

“The relief programs created to assist people during the pandemic shutdown have proved tempting targets for scam artists. These programs were created to quickly provide help to those who had lost their income and were susceptible to being manipulated by people filing for benefits under multiple identities. I am proud of the work of my financial crimes team of ADA William Lemon and Inv. Jim McCrum who are working closely with state agencies and officials to uncover this fraud and expose it. I believe that prosecuting people such as Mr. Baldwin is vitally important to ensure that government relief goes only to those who need it and this office will continue to pursue such prosecutions which may, unfortunately, be widespread,” said District Attorney Carney.