Hicksville residents Michael Arbassio, aged 65, and Eileen Dantini, aged 61, were arraigned on Wednesday, May 17 for allegedly filing false documents so that they could claim tens of thousands in COVID relief money, according to the District Attorney’s office.
According to the charges, Arbassio and Dantini had lived together as tenants in their Hicksville residence for 10 years, for which they paid monthly rent.
However, on September 29, 2021, Arbassio allegedly submitted an application for the Oyster Bay Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), a program that used federal funds to assist Oyster Bay residents facing pandemic-related housing insecurities.
On Arbassio’s application, he purportedly listed Dantini as his landlord and claimed that he was in arrears in rent to her.
The two also submitted fraudulent paperwork, including a fake lease agreement between the couple and a Rental Arrears Affidavit allegedly signed by Dantini as the landlord, the DA's Office reported.
Between December 2021 and January 2022, Dantini and Arbassio received $12,800 in rental assistance funds through the program.
In April of 2022, Arbassio attempted to submit the ERAP paperwork again, claiming he was still in arrears to Dantini. This prompted an investigation that found the couple’s Hicksville home was owned by a different individual.
Both are charged with:
- Third-degree grand larceny
- First-degree offering a false instrument for filing (six counts)
They pleaded not guilty and were released on their own recognizance.
Dantini and Arbassio are due back in court Tuesday, May 23, and could face up to two and one-thirds to seven years in prison if convicted of the top charge.
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