By Staff

WORCESTER (CBS) – Four people have been charged in a scheme allegedly run by a Worcester County Jail inmate, in which personal information of fellow inmates and others were stolen to get money from Massachusetts’ Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program.

Attorney General Maura Healey announced on Friday that more than $77,000 was taken from the program.

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The scheme began in May 2020. According to the Attorney General’s office, 38-year-old Darnell Harris, the inmate involved in the scheme, started giving personal information of other inmates to 56-year-old Marie Tavernier, 36-year-old Ebony Harris, and 39-year-old Gregory Harris.

Healey said the reason that the inmates’ information was passed to the three other individuals was so they could use their stolen identities to secure unemployment money.

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In total, they allegedly filed 13 claims for unemployment benefits, collecting $77,457. Investigators also allege that some of the money was used to help post $100,000 bail for Darnell Harris’ release from pretrial detention in the Worcester County Jail.

All four people accused are from Springfield. They were indicted on counts of unemployment fraud, larceny, attempted larceny, money laundering and conspiracy.

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Each of them are set to be arraigned in Suffolk Superior Court on June 7. Staff