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TRENTON, N.J. (CBS/AP) — Four more New Jersey residents have been charged with filing fraudulent applications for Superstorm Sandy relief.
The new cases announced Thursday by the state Attorney General’s office brings the total number of people charged statewide to 120. Officials say all the false claims are responsible for diverting more than $8 million in relief funds.
The four new defendants — a Toms River woman, a Lodi man and an Upper Freehold couple — are accused of falsely claiming in their grant and loan applications that their damaged Jersey shore homes were their primary residences. They’re charged with theft by deception.
Previously, five other New Jersey residents were brought up on charges for filing fraudulent claims in relation to the storm’s relief efforts. Each of those people were also charged with theft by deception, while three faced charges of unsworn falsification as well.
If convicted, the defendants could each face up to 10 years in prison.
In late October 2017, a poll of 400 Sandy victims found that 56 percent felt, even five years after the storm hit, that they had been forgotten by the state, suggested that businesses got a better break, and that more than half of those victims felt they were financially worse off more so now than they were before the storm hit.
In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, fraud has been rampant beyond just fraudulent claims from residents or property owners. An Ocean County-based company was also charged for deceptive practices that displaced homeowners while he performed “shoddy” work on their homes for a quote valued higher than what they received.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)