ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Three men, who all have connections to New York State, were arrested this week on an indictment alleging they participated in a conspiracy to defraud the State Department of Labor (NYSDOL). The defendants, Thomas Brace, 61, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, and formerly of Albany, Taliek Lanier, 22, of Albany, and Errol Murray, 21, of Yonkers, allegedly conspired with Jamie Johnson, who pleaded guilty in February to fraudulently receiving $701,441 in unemployment insurance (UI) benefits.
The indictment, announced on Thursday by the Department of Justice (DOJ), alleges that Brace, Lanier, and Murray provided Johnson with the personal identifying information of other people, which Johnson used to file false claims on the NYSDOL website.
Murray was arraigned on Wednesday before United States Magistrate Judge Daniel J. Stewart and released with conditions pending trial. Brace also appeared on Wednesday before Judge Stewart and is scheduled to be arraigned on Friday. Lanier appeared before a federal judge on Thursday in the Middle District of Pennsylvania and will be arraigned before Judge Stewart on September 7.
The defendants are charged with mail and wire fraud, as well as aggravated identity theft, the DOJ said in a press release. The mail and wire fraud charges carry a maximum term of 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and a term of supervised release of up to three years if convicted. The charges of aggravated identity theft carry a mandatory term of two years in prison, which will be added to any other sentence.