Carl A. Meyer, 53, of Galloway Township, was charged with third-degree attempted theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
In applying for relief, Meyer allegedly falsely claimed that a storm-damaged house on South Adams Avenue in Margate City was his primary residence. However, it was a rental property.
Meyer applied for FEMA funds as well as a HUD Resettlement Grant. The FEMA application was denied because his damage was covered by flood insurance. The HUD grant was approved, but his alleged fraud was discovered before funds were dispensed. DCA also referred this case to the Division of Criminal Justice.
“Those who lie to defraud these relief programs are stealing funds from the victims who were hit hardest by Sandy – those left homeless because their primary homes were destroyed or seriously damaged,” Hoffman said. “We’ll continue to guard these limited funds by charging every cheat who attempts to divert funds from their rightful recipients.”
Meyer is one of six homeowners the Attorney General’s Office has charged with this type of fraud in the last month.
“We are not done filing these cases,” Director Elie Honig of the Division of Criminal Justice said. “We want everyone out there who has engaged in this fraud to know that we are on their trail and will not rest until we’ve recovered all of the funds that were fraudulently obtained.”
The Attorney General’s Office is continuing to aggressively 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.
“It is unconscionable that fraudsters would attempt to steal much needed RREM and Resettlement grants from eligible applicants who were impacted by Sandy and trying to rebuild their lives,” New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Commissioner Richard E. Constable III said. “Be warned. We will remain vigilant with our partners at HUD and the Attorney General’s Office in pursuit of rooting out anyone who attempts to misuse our Sandy recovery programs.”
Deputy Attorneys General Mark Kurzawa and John A. Nicodemo are prosecuting the defendants for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau. Lt. David Nolan, Sgt. Fred Weidman and Analyst Alison Callery are conducting and coordinating the investigations with them for the Division of Criminal Justice.
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 prison and a fine of up to $10,000.
On Oct. 29, 2012,
Superstorm Sandy hit New Jersey, resulting in an unprecedented level of
damage. Almost immediately, the affected areas were declared federal
disaster areas, making residents eligible for FEMA relief. FEMA grants
are provided to repair damaged homes and replace personal property.
In addition, rental assistance grants are available for impacted homeowners. FEMA allocates up to $31,000 per applicant for federal disasters. To qualify for FEMA relief, applicants must affirm that the damaged property was their primary residence at the time of the storm.
In addition to the FEMA
relief funds, HUD allocated $16 billion in Community Development Block Grant
(CDBG) funds for storm victims along the East Coast.
New Jersey received
$1.2 billion in CDBG funds for housing-related programs, including $215 million
that was allocated for the Homeowner Resettlement Program and $710 million that
was allocated for the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation
Under the Resettlement program, the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs is disbursing grants of $10,000 to encourage homeowners affected by Sandy to remain in the nine counties most seriously impacted by the storm, including: Atlantic, Bergen, Cape May, Essex, Hudson, Middlesex, Monmouth, Ocean and Union counties.