A number of homeowners in Ocean Beach, Ortley Beach and Seaside Heights have been charged with illegally collecting Superstorm Sandy assistance funding by falsely claiming that they were full-time residents.
One defendant received over $187,000 in funding, authorities said. The latest arrests were announced this week by the office of the state Attorney General. They are the latest of 62 people who have been charged with various fraudulent activities aimed at collecting Sandy aid.
Gordon Sinclair, 40, of Summit, is alleged to have fraudulently obtained a total of $12,270 by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA rental assistance and a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program. It is alleged that Sinclair falsely claimed in his applications that a storm-damaged property that he owned on Moonrise Lane in Ocean Beach, was his primary residence at the time Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in reality, his primary residence was an apartment in Hoboken and the property in Ocean Beach was a vacation home. Sinclair received a $10,000 RSP grant and $2,270 in FEMA rental assistance. Sinclair is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
Nikola Lulaj, 42, of Seaside Heights – formerly of Dumont – allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance, a low-interest SBA disaster-relief loan, and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP), the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, and the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP) funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services.
As a result, he received a total of approximately $187,074 in relief funds. It is alleged that Lulaj falsely claimed in his applications that a home he owns on Webster Avenue in Seaside Heights which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy was his primary residence at the time Sandy struck. In fact, authorities said, his primary residence was in Dumont. Lulaj has since moved to the house in Seaside Heights, but at the time of the storm, it allegedly was a vacation rental property.
As a result of the alleged fraudulent applications, he received $2,820 from FEMA, $90,200 in SBA loan proceeds, a $69,054 RREM grant, a $10,000 RSP grant, and a $15,000 SHRAP grant. Lulaj is charged with second-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
Pat G. Angelastro, 46, of Ortley Beach, allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $10,000 by filing a false application following Superstorm Sandy for a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP). It is alleged that Angelastro falsely claimed in the application that at the time Sandy struck, he owned a house on Fielder Avenue in Ortley Beach that was damaged by the storm. It is alleged that, while the storm-damaged house was Angelastro’s primary residence, he did not own it. According to authorities, his parents owned the house at the time of the storm, and Angelastro therefore was not qualified for the grant monies. He received a $10,000 RSP grant as a result of the alleged false application. Angelastro also applied for a state grant under the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, but that application was denied. He is charged with third-degree theft by deception.