PHOTOS:5 more charged with Sandy-related fraud; total now 76

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Five more people have been charged in New Jersey with fraud related to Superstorm Sandy, bringing the total to 76 since 2014.

The latest round of charges was announced by the NJ Attorney General's office on Thursday.

Many of the charges include fraudulent applications for assistance following Sandy.

Authorities released the following details about the suspects:

Stephen Hewitt, 64, and his wife, Sharon Hewitt, 60, of Westville, N.J., allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP), the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program, and the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP). As a result, they received approximately $52,146 in relief funds. The Hewitts allegedly falsely claimed in their applications that a home they own on Mohawk Drive in Little Egg Harbor, N.J., which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, was their primary residence at the time Sandy struck. It is alleged that, in fact, their primary residence was in Westville, and the Little Egg Harbor home was a summer/vacation home. As a result of the alleged fraudulent applications, the Hewitts received $28,216 from FEMA, a $10,000 RSP grant, and SHRAP funds totaling approximately $13,930. Their RREM application was denied. The Hewitts are charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Mary Eileen Adams, 63, of Glenmoore, Pa., allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. As a result, she received approximately $31,949 in relief funds. Adams allegedly falsely claimed in her applications that a home she owns on Atlantic Avenue in Beach Haven, Long Beach Township, N.J., which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, was her primary residence when Sandy struck. In fact, her primary residence at the time allegedly was in Pennsylvania, and the property in Beach Haven was a rental/vacation property. As a result of the alleged fraudulent applications, she received $5,090 in FEMA rental assistance, a $10,000 RSP grant, and $16,859 in RREM monies. Adams was initially awarded just under $75,000 in RREM grant funds, but additional funds were denied after a check for $16,859 was issued to her because it subsequently was determined that the Beach Haven home was not her primary residence at the time of the storm. Adams is charged with second-degree attempted theft by deception, third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.


Janie Spataro, 52, of Beachwood, N.J.
, allegedly filed fraudulent applications following Superstorm Sandy for FEMA assistance and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) Program. As a result, she received approximately $21,711 in relief funds. Spataro allegedly falsely claimed in her applications that a home she owns on East Long Branch Avenue in Ocean Gate, N.J., which was damaged by Superstorm Sandy, was her primary residence when Sandy struck. In fact, it is alleged that the property in Ocean Gate was a vacation/rental property. As a result of the alleged fraudulent applications, she received $11,711 in FEMA rental and home repair assistance, and a $10,000 RSP grant. Her application for an RREM grant was denied. Spataro is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Lisa Drew, 45, of Camden, N.J.
, allegedly fraudulently obtained a total of $9,479 in FEMA rental assistance by filing false applications following Superstorm Sandy. Drew allegedly fraudulently claimed that she was forced to evacuate an apartment in Camden due to storm damage, and subsequently entered into a month-to-month agreement to rent a room from her daughter at an apartment complex in Blackwood, N.J. In applying for FEMA rental assistance, Drew submitted a lease for the Camden apartment and rental receipts for the room in Blackwood. Those documents allegedly were fraudulent. It is alleged that Drew did not live in either the apartment in Camden or the apartment complex in Blackwood, as claimed. Drew allegedly received four payments from FEMA for rental assistance totaling $9,479. She is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsificatio

The Attorney General's Office says it investigates Sandy fraud in cooperation with the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) and the Offices of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).
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weathernew jersey newssuperstorm sandyfraud
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