(OAJ, NJ) TRENTON –Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino announced that nine additional individuals have been charged criminally with filing fraudulent applications for federal relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy. Since March 2014, the Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against 71 people for allegedly engaging in this type of fraud, including the nine individuals charged today.
The Attorney General’s Office is continuing its aggressive efforts to investigate fraud in Sandy relief programs, working jointly with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and the Offices of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), (and) the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Also assisting the taskforce is the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission, and the non-profit National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).
The individuals who have been charged are alleged, in most cases, to have filed fraudulent applications for relief funds offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In many cases, they also applied for funds from a Sandy relief program funded by HUD, low-interest disaster loans from the SBA, or assistance provided by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. The HUD funds are administered in New Jersey by the Department of Community Affairs. In addition, one of the new cases involves a motel owner who allegedly fraudulently stole more than $80,000 in funds from a program in which FEMA directly paid hotels and motels for housing residents displaced by Superstorm Sandy.