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Four residents indicted in unemployment fraud scheme

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    SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts (WGGB, WSHM) — Authorities say that four people from Springfield have been indicted following an investigation into alleged unemployment fraud.

The office of Mass. Attorney General Maura Healey said that starting in May 2020, 38-year-old Darnell Harris of Springfield allegedly began passing personal information of fellow inmates at the Worcester County Jail and other people to 56-year-old Marie Tavernier, 36-year-old Ebony Harris, and 39-year-old Gregory Harris, all of Springfield.

Investigators allege that the information was intended to be used to steal money that would have been available to those eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance.

The four suspects reportedly filed 13 false claims for benefits, defrauded the state, and collected $77,457 in benefits. It’s also alleged that they used the money to help post a $100,000 bail for Harris from pretrial detention at the jail.

Darnell, Ebony, and Gregory Harris, along with Tavernier, are facing several charges including 13 counts of unemployment fraud, 10 counts of larceny over $10,000, three counts of attempted larceny, one count of money laundering, and one count of conspiracy.

Arraignments are scheduled for June 7 in Suffolk Superior Court.

Darnell Harris is currently in custody at the Plymouth County House of Corrections on an unrelated matter.

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