Homeowners in Chadwick Beach and Ortley Beach whose primary residences were allegedly in North Jersey have been charged with falsely claiming to have lived full-time in their local residences to obtain Superstorm Sandy aid, authorities said.
Nancy L. Fletcher, 54, of Ringwood, N.J., allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance and a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program. She received a total of $32,759 as a result of the alleged fraud. Fletcher allegedly falsely claimed on the applications that a storm-damaged property she owned on Bayberry Road in the Chadwick Beach section of Toms River was her primary residence when Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in fact, her primary residence was in Ringwood, and the Toms River property was a summer home. Fletcher received $22,759 in FEMA relief funds. She also received a $10,000 RSP grant. She is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
Juli Schaber, 58, of Colonia, N.J., allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance, state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program and the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program, and state assistance under the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program, funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. She received a total of $128,313 as a result of the alleged fraud, prosecutors said in a statement.
Schaber allegedly falsely claimed on the applications that a storm-damaged property she owns on Eisenhower Avenue in the Ortley Beach section of Toms River, was her primary residence at the time Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in fact, Schaber’s primary residence was in Edison at the time of the storm, and the property in Ortley Beach is a vacation home. Schaber received $31,900 from FEMA for rental assistance and personal property loss. She received a $10,000 RSP grant and $11,413 for replacement of household items through the SHRAP program. Schaber also received $75,000 in construction funds from a grant under the RREM program. She is charged with second-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
“We’re working diligently with our state and federal law enforcement partners to ensure that every allegation of fraud involving these Sandy relief programs is thoroughly investigated,” said Director Elie Honig of the state’s Division of Criminal Justice, in a statement. “Our goal in these joint efforts is to recover the stolen funds and also to send a clear message that this type of fraud will be met with serious criminal charges, now and during any future disaster relief efforts.”
Second-degree charges carry a sentence of five to 10 years in state prison and a fine of up to $150,000. Third-degree charges carry a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in state prison and a fine of $10,000.