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Sandy Theft Suspect Charged with Check Fraud

The onetime operator of Ocean County Search and Rescue who was charged with trying to get a Superstorm-related loan under false pretenses last October is now charged with cashing a stolen check.

Chaim Gottlieb
Chaim Gottlieb (Lakewood Police)

Chaim Gottleib, 43, is charged with fraud in a complaint filed by Lakewood police. Soureces at police headquarters told WOBM News that he turned himself in late Friday afternoon, about a day after a search began for him.

He palmed the check while trying to sell a Dodge Charger to a woman in Palmyra at the end of July, according to information from Lakewood and Palmyra police, who were alerted July 30.

The victim had responded to a Craigslist ad about the vehicle. Gottlieb brought it to her house, identified himself as an employee of the Lakewood Fire Department and explained that the car was being sold to compensate for budget cutbacks, police said.

She ultimately turned down the offer but Gottlieb allegedly took the check while she was inspecting it.

Gottlieb is accused of cashing it at the TD Bank on Route 9 at Kennedy Boulevard in Lakewood. Bank officials notified the victim that the driver’s license number given by the payee didn’t match the endorsee’s.

Last October, Gottlieb and former partner David Faria were charged with theft by Ocean County authorities, accused of fabricating an approval for a $150,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency in order to secure a loan from OceanFirst Bank. Gottlieb paid bail and was released.

Lakewood Police Detective Jason Pederson is leading the probe. He can be reached at 732-363-0200.

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