Superstorm fraud defendant list grows by eight
Add eight more to the list of alleged Superstorm fraudsters facing theft charges by the New Jersey Attorney General's office -and none of them have primary addresses at the shore, according to investigators.
They face second- or third-degree counts of theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification charges, according to acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman's office, which has filed complaints against 45 defendants since March 2014.
Sandra L. Elliott, 44, of Nutley, is accused of collecting $93,055 under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program for a house on East Coral Drive in Brick that she co-owns with her parents and claimed as a primary home at the time of the storm. Authorities contend that she submitted fake rent receipts to indicate a tenant in her Nutley home before Sandy.
Anthony and Laura Cortese, both 53, of Warren, allegedly were approved for a $64,000 Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster-relief loan for a summer house on Fremont Avenue in Seaside Heights, taking $40,000 of the approved amount. Laura Cortese is further accused of obtaining $40,998 more in RSP and RREM grants and rental aid from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
Patrick Dori, 58, of Englewood, allegedly collected $55,902 for a summer house on Third Avenue in Seaside Heights, partly through RREM and RSP grants. The majority, $31,900, was through FEMA relief funds, the maximum that the agency allows to individuals, authorities said.
Michael Murphy, 63, of Staten Island, NY, allegedly collected $27,545 in FEMA funds for a summer house on Budd Drive in Manahawkin.
Willian O'Donnell, 62, of St. James, NY, is accused of $19,176 in FEMA assistance, RSP grant money and rental aid under the Sandy Homeowner Rental Assistance Program (SHRAP), for a home on Cedar Point Avenue in Brick that was unoccupied. O'Donnell's $150,000 RREM award, the maximum grant in the program, was shelved before payments began as the investigation developed, authorities said.
Robert F. Scott, 71, of Jupiter, FL, allegedly was in his primary home during the Superstorm, but collected $31,900 from FEMA for a vacation home on Sunset Drive in Seaside Heights, authorities said.
Jordan Clemons, 30, of Atlanta, GA, allegedly received $5,000 from FEMA for a 2000 Volvo S80 that he claimed was ruined in Atlantic City during the storm and flooding. Investigators further claim that Clemons had no insurance coverage for the car, but fabricated a letter from an insurance company to indicate that his policy excluded flood damage. Additionally, they claimed that Clemons submitted a $7,012.43 repair estimate from a nonexistent auto repair shop in Chester, PA.
Second-degree charges are punishable by five to 10 years in prison and fines up to $150,000 on conviction. Third-degree counts carry penalties of three to five years in prison and fines as high as $15,000 on conviction. Penalties for fourth-degrree charges are sentences of up to 18 months and fines up to $10,000, on conviction.