Bayville Woman Charged with Sandy Fraud
A Bayville woman becomes the latest in a mounting list of New Jersey homeowners accused of using fraud to get federal Superstorm relief funds. Debra Weigman, 56, was charged with attempted theft by deception today.
Information from acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman’s office says that Weigman obtained $13,373 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) by claiming a Seaside Heights home as her primary residence, when she didn’t live there at all.
Weigman also faces a fourth-degree count of unsworn falsification. Filings against her, and against Carol Suto of Clifton, bring the number of homeowners facing similar charges since March to eight.
“Between them, these two homeowners allegedly obtained over $45,000 in federal funds by filing fraudulent claims for Sandy relief,” said Hoffman in a prepared statement. “That’s $45,000 that, as a result of their duplicity, was not available to help victims who really were left homeless by the storm and lost their primary possessions.”
Weigman had leased the Fremont Avenue house that she claimed in filings but had been evicted two weeks before Sandy arrived, investigators said.
If convicted of the third-degree count, Weigman risks a state prison term of three to five years, and a fine as high as $15,000. A fourth-degree conviction opens the possibility of 18 months in prison and a $10,000 fine.