Three Charged in FEMA Scam Probe
Three years after Hurricane Irene, allegations of a scam to get free storm-related federal money catch up with two people from Toms River and an alleged accomplice from Bergen County.
Michael Frunzi, 44, and Heather Scoville, 29, of Toms River, were arrested along with Giacomo Tuminaro, 28, of Washington Township, on February 7. Special agents of Ocean County Prosecutor Joseph Coronato's office collaborated with Homeland Security investigators in the probe.
Authorities believe that they scammed the Federal Emergency Management Agency for $7,445. Sources inside the Prosecutor's office say that the investigation required several years to sort out federal aid applications, insurance claims and purchase records.
According to information from Coronato's office, Tuminaro is accused of seeking reparations for a 203 Nissan Altima that he claimed was damaged during Irene. Investigators said that Frunzi, identified as inspecting it for J & F Auto Service in Brick Township, substantiated the claim and bought the car for $350.
According to their findings, Tuminaro had bought the Altima from My Car Corporation in Lakewood in May 2011 and sold it back to the company the following September. They contended that photos prove no hurricane-related damage.
Authorities said FEMA issued payment in two checks to Heather Scoville, listed as primary applicant. Tuminaro was listed as co-applicant. Scoville is believed to have cashed them in a Toms River check-cashing business.
Tuminaro was arrested in Washington Township. Scoville was apprehended in Seaside Heights. Frunzi was cuffed in Toms River.Tuminaro and Frunzi are charged with theft by deception, conspiracy and tampering with public records. Scoville faces one count of theft by deception.
All three were housed in the Ocean County Jail in Toms River with bail at $35,000, each with the option for release on payment of 10 percent.