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Prison Unemployment Scam

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced Tuesday that several suspects have been arrested for their roles in an alleged scheme to steal Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) funds.

Shapiro says two inmates were arrested, as well as their outside accomplice, for conspiring to provide false information on PUA applications.

According to the attorney general’s office, John Jones, an inmate at SCI Rockview in Centre County, and Robert Palmer, an inmate at SCI Huntingdon in Huntingdon County, were charged with illegally applying for PUA benefits for themselves and on behalf of inmates from across the Commonwealth.

Shapiro says that Palmer’s girlfriend and outside accomplice Elise Ballard, of Johnstown, Pa., was also arrested for allegedly submitted PUA applications for 22 inmates from 6 state correctional facilities including: 10 from SCI Huntingdon, 1 from SCI Somerset, 1 from SCI Mahanoy. PUA applications submitted by Jones include: 7 from SCI Rockview, 2 from SCI Camp Hill, and 1 from SCI Houtzdale.

The AG’s office says Ballard also illegally submitted PUA applications for friends and family of the inmates who were not otherwise eligible.

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