5 more charged with Sandy fraud

 Elie Honig, the director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, says 37 fraud suspects have been charged since last year. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

Elie Honig, the director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, says 37 fraud suspects have been charged since last year. (Phil Gregory/WHYY)

The New Jersey attorney general’s office has charged five more people with filing fraudulent applications for federal relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy.

 

Elie Honig, the director of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, said 37 suspects have been charged since last year.

“A lot of the conduct that we’re charging has happened in the past, not too far in the past, but we do need some time to always go out and investigate and make sure that we actually have a criminal charge,” he said Friday. “But, you know, it’s sort of an unfortunate fact of life that any time you have a pool of money available to people — even if it’s in the wake of a tragedy — you’re going to have people who are trying to dip their hand in there.”

It’s disturbing that people are ripping off a program intended to help victims, Honig said.

“Generally what you see is people who claim that their vacation homes down the Shore are in fact in primary residences. The money in this program is set aside for people who’ve lost their primary residence, the place where they live year round,” he said. “For every one of these people who commit fraud, that’s less available to people who actually need that money for their primary home.”

Authorities have not finished their aggressive investigation, Honig said, and more people could be charged.

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