Philly man among 7 charged with Sandy relief fraud (PHOTOS)

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Leonard Itri, 41, of Philadelphia, Pa.</span></div>
A Philadelphia man is one seven people who have been charged with fraud stemming from applications for relief funds after Superstorm Sandy.

The New Jersey Attorney General's office said that in these cases, like many of the 50 prior cases, suspects filed for aid by falsely claiming storm-damaged homes were primary residences.

"Under each of these disaster relief programs, it was made absolutely clear that only those whose primary residences were damaged qualified for aid, but these defendants selfishly lied about their situation to divert funding intended for those left homeless when Sandy struck," said Acting Attorney General Lougy in a statement.

Lougy's office released the following:

Leonard Itri, 41, of Philadelphia, Pa., allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $11,888 by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA rental assistance and a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP). In addition, he allegedly fraudulently attempted to obtain $77,769 by filing a false application for a grant from the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. He was awarded $77,769 but no RREM monies were disbursed because he was later determined to be ineligible. It is alleged that Itri falsely claimed in his applications that a storm-damaged property that they owned on North Surrey Avenue in Ventnor, N.J., was his primary residence at the time Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in reality, his primary residence was in Philadelphia and the property in Ventnor was a seasonal home. Itri received a $10,000 RSP grant and $1,888 in FEMA rental assistance. He repaid the RSP grant. Itri is charged with second-degree attempted theft by deception, third-degree theft by deception, and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

James Avellini, 67, and Susan Horty-Avellini, 65, of Red Bank, N.J., allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $49,969 by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP) funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. It is alleged that the married couple falsely claimed in the applications that a storm-damaged property that they owned on Norman Court in Lavallette, N.J., was their primary residence at the time Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in reality, the couple's primary residence was in Red Bank, N.J., and the property in Lavallette was a seasonal home. The couple received a $24,992 FEMA grant, a $10,000 RSP grant, and $14,977 in SHRAP funding. Both defendants are charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Claire P. Sullivan, 55, and Catherine Perry, 57, of Caldwell, N.J., allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $22,253 by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy for a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and state assistance under the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP) funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. In addition, Sullivan allegedly fraudulently attempted to obtain $77,801 by filing a false application for a grant from the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. Sullivan was awarded $77,801 but no RREM monies were disbursed because she was later determined to be ineligible. Sullivan and Perry, who are married, claimed in the applications that a storm-damaged residence they owned on Island Avenue in Seaside Park, N.J., was their primary residence at the time Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in reality, their primary residence was in Caldwell at the time of the storm. The couple received a $10,000 RSP grant and $12,253 in mortgage assistance from SHRAP. Sullivan repaid the RSP grant. Sullivan is charged with second-degree attempted theft by deception and third-degree theft by deception. Perry is charged with third-degree theft by deception.

Concetta Curry, 63, of Brooklyn, N.Y., allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $18,883 by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy for a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and state assistance under the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP) funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services. Curry allegedly falsely claimed on the applications that a storm-damaged property she owned on Monterey Drive in Brick, N.J., was her primary residence when Sandy hit. It is alleged that, in fact, her primary residence was in Brooklyn, N.Y., at the time of the storm and the Brick residence was a rental property. Curry received a $10,000 RSP grant and $8,883 in mortgage and utility payment assistance from SHRAP. Curry is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Kevin P. Trotta, 51, of Surf City, N.J., allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $12,820 by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA rental assistance and a state grant under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) on behalf of a relative for whom he had been named power of attorney. At the time Sandy hit, Trotta was living in a home on 10th Street in Surf City that was damaged by the storm. The home was not owned by Trotta; it was owned by the relative for whom he was power of attorney. It is alleged that Trotta filed false applications on behalf of the relative claiming that the home in Surf City also was her primary residence at the time Sandy struck. It is alleged that, in reality, the relative's primary residence was in Tucson, Arizona. Trotta filed a joint application on behalf of himself and his relative that led to him receiving a $10,000 RSP grant. He also filed an application on behalf of his relative which led to $2,820 in FEMA rental assistance being paid into a joint account they held. Trotta is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
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weathernew jersey newssuperstorm sandyfraud
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