BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo man will spend five years on probation for fraudulently obtaining unemployment benefits during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to police, 33-year-old Michael J. Villagomez Jr. used the personal information of an elderly relative to obtain benefits from the New York State Department of Labor as well as obtain natural gas service at his home. He also fraudulently used his own name to obtain unemployment benefits, available through state and federal programs established during the pandemic.

All of this occurred between August 2019 and August 2021. He pleaded guilty to two counts of grand larceny and one count of identity theft.

As part of his sentence, he was ordered to pay $42,190 in restitution to the New York State Department of Labor. He has already paid approximately $5,000 in restitution to the utility company.

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Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.