A Toms River survivor of Superstorm Sandy is one of three accused today of collecting tens of thousands in federal relief funds through bogus claim submissions.

Townsquare Digital
Townsquare Digital

James M. Russo, 59, was charged with theft by deception and unsworn falsification, according to information from the office of acting New Jersey Attorney General John Hoffman. Also facing the same charges are Kathleen F. Ambro, of Nutley, regarding a house in Bayville; and Scott D. Fralley, of Florham Park, in connection with a dwelling in Lavallette.

Russo allegedly collected $11,320 in federal rental aid illegally, claiming to pay $1,415 monthly for Whiting apartment after being displaced from his home, and submitting fabricated lease and receipt documents. Investigators said that the owner let Russo and his wife stay there rent-free.

Ambro is accused of claiming her Rosewood Drive abode in Bayville as her primary home in filing for the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and the Reconstruciton, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) grant subsidy.

Ambro's primary home is in Nutley, investigators said. She allegedly collected $2,270 for rental aid from FEMA and won a $10,000 RSP payout.

Fralley claimed a storm-damaged house on Ocean Bay Boulevard in Lavallette as his primary residence in applying for, and getting, the maximum FEMA payout of $31,900, investigators said.

The shore home is used during summers and occasional weekends while he maintains full-time residence in Florham Park, investigators said.

The charges filed today brings the number of fraudulent-filing cases to 23 since March 2014.

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