Five alleged Sandy relief fraudsters charged by NJ Attorney General
A Barnegat man and two couples from outside Ocean County are the latest New Jerseyans facing criminal charges for allegedly collecting federal Superstorm relief under false pretenses.
Manny Martinez, 33, is accused of collecting almost $20,000 in rental aid and property reimbursement related to a dwelling in Seaside Heights, where he hadn't lived since 2010, according to information from the office of acting New Jersey Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
Also facing fraud complaints are Mark J. Spulock,54, and Joanne M. Spulock, 57, of Delran, and also of Boca Raton, Florida; and Peter Larkin III, 59, and Judith Larkin, 57, of Yardville.
Peter Larkin worked for the New Jersey Department of the Treasury. Judith Larkin was employed by the state Department of Community Affairs. Both resigned Monday, authorities said.
All defendants are charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.
Investigators say that Martinez claimed to have been displaced from a residence on Blaine Avenue in Seaside Heights, and to have begun renting an apartment on Barnegat Boulevard in Barnegat. the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) paid Martinez $19,276 for rent support and property damage, authorities said. Martinez is also accused of supporting his aid application with false work-related earnings statements.
Mark and Joanne Spulock allegedly collected $70,866 by claiming their storm-wracked Island Guest House in Beach Haven as their primary residence, authorities said. They were turned down for an SBA disaster loan but were given $38,396 by FEMA for home repairs, rental help and transitional shelter aid, authorities said.
They also received a $10,000 Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) grant and another $6,584 through the Sandy Homeowner/Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP), authorities said.
Joanne Spulock also allegedly was given $15,866 in Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) between October 28, 2012 and May 4, 2013, by claiming that the bed-and-breakfast's closure left her jobless. Investigators surmised that there was no job to miss, because it routinely closed from the end of October until May each year.
The Larkins are accused of collecting $26,552 through RSP and the Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation (RREM) program in connection with a home on South Bayview Avenue in Seaside Park, claiming it as their primary dwelling, according to investigators. Authorities contended that their actual primary residence is in Hamilton's Yardville district
The Attorney General's office has filed complaints against 32 alleged fraudsters since March 2014.