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Depew woman pleads guilty to fraudulently receiving COVID-19 funds

A Depew woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding the government in order to receive COVID-19 funds.

Julieann McCarty, 56, pleaded guilty in State Supreme Court to a felony count of a scheme to defraud, which was the highest sustainable charge against her.

The Erie County District Attorney's office said McCarthy opened multiple bank accounts, using her address to fraudulently apply for COVID-19 benefits between May 2020 and last month.

McCarty was described as a "money mule," receiving funds illegally from several states and the federal government, then transferring part of that money to other unidentified parties while keeping the balance. Government losses totaled over $100,000.

She has been released on her own recognizance, since the charge does not qualify for bail, but McCarty faces a maximum of four years in prison at her sentencing on Nov. 9.