RAMSEY, N.J. -- A Ramsey homeowner collected nearly $137,827 in taxpayer-funded Superstorm Sandy relief -- and nearly got $143,000 more -- by claiming his Jersey Shore home as his primary residence, state authorities charged.
Thomas Dooney, 65, filed bogus applications for FEMA assistance and state grants for his second home, on Bower Drive in Brick Township, in the wake of the historic storm that struck the Northeast on Oct. 29, 2012, Attorney General Christopher Porrino said.
"His primary residence at the time of the storm was in Ramsey and the home in Brick was a seasonal/weekend home," Porrino said.
Dooney illegally received $137,827 in relief funds and had a $143,000 low-interest SBA loan loan approved but never closed on it, the attorney general said.
Authorities charged him with theft by deception and unsworn falsification.
Since March 2014, the Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against nearly 100 people accusing them of similar fraud -- including Dooney and four others from other parts of the state on Thursday.
Each received summonses ordering them to appear in court.
The defendants "stole from disaster relief programs and by extension from the victims who were hardest hit by the storm,” Porrino said.
“Stealing any type of public aid is reprehensible," added New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Director Elie Honig, "but it’s especially egregious to steal relief funds in the context of a historic disaster, when every dollar is needed for recovery.”
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