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Buffalo man collected benefits while in prison

Albert Weathers and his girlfriend, Lisa Conroy, have pleaded guilty to a scheme in which Weathers stole thousands of dollars in unemployment benefits while he was behind bars.

State Inspector General Ellen Biben’s office found Weathers, 37, formerly of Buffalo, illegally collected unemployment benefits 31 times while serving a prison sentence at Groveland Correctional Facility after Conroy used her home computer to file bogus unemployment claims for him.

Weathers pleaded guilty Thursday morning to one count of fourth-degree grand larceny. He appeared before Buffalo City Court Judge Penny M. Wolfgang in Erie County Court.

Conroy, 39, of 629 Emerson Drive, Amherst, pleaded guilty to attempted fourth-degree grand larceny and second-degree offering a false instrument. Weathers, also agreed to pay full restitution.

During a seven-month period in 2009 and 2010, Weathers illegally collected $8,773 in weekly unemployment checks of up to $283 each. Conroy, a state Parks and Recreation senior engineering technician who met Weathers just one month before he was sent to state prison, would send money to Weathers after withdrawing unemployment benefits that were electronically deposited in Weathers’ bank account.