ROCHESTER — A Batavia woman is facing up to 30 years in prison and a $1 million fine after allegedly stealing people’s identities in order to collect COVID unemployment benefits.

Danielle Tooley, 36, has been charged with wire fraud and theft of government funds, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.

Tooley and others knowingly used other people’s personal information to apply for and collect the benefits linked to federal COVID-19 relief programs, the prosecutors said. The incidents allegedly occurred between July and Dec. 4, 2020.

The scheme came to law enforcement’s attention on Nov. 24, 2020, when Tooley was arrested by state police for criminal possession of a controlled substance during a traffic stop in Bergen. Troopers said they observed a crack pipe with white residue inside her vehicle.

A search later…

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