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Hasbrouck Heights man charged in Sandy relief scam

Photo Credit: Courtesy NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE

YOU READ IT HERE FIRST: A Hasbrouck Heights landlord tried scamming Hurricane Sandy disaster relief funds by claiming properties he owns in Little Ferry and Rochelle Park as primary residences, state authorities said today.

Magdi Mosaid, 55, of Hasbrouck Heights, was one of four people charged with theft by deception in alleged Sandy schemes.

Authorities said Mosaid filed two fraudulent applications for Homeowner Resettlement grants funded through HUD and administered by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs in connection with storm-damaged properties.

The DCA flagged the applications, no funds were claimed and Mosaid’s case — like those of the others — was forwarded to the state Division of Criminal Justice.

Since March, the state Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against a dozen people — including the four today — for Sandy-related fraud.

“The circumstances of these new cases vary widely, but all four defendants are alleged to have shamelessly falsified information to drain Sandy relief funds away from legitimate applicants,” state Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman said. “We’re working hard to recover these funds and to stop dishonest applicants from wasting the time and resources of relief administrators who need to focus on helping deserving victims.”

Those charged in most cases filed bogus applications for FEMA relief funds — although some also applied for grants from HUD or low-interest disaster loans from the SBA, Hoffman said. The HUD funds are administered in New Jersey by the DCA.

One of those charged today — Mary Conklin, 51, of West Chester, Pa. — got a $137,400 SBA loan by falsely claiming a vacation home she owned in Manahawkin was her primary residence, authorities said.

The charges filed today stemmed from cases investigated by detectives of the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice and special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, HUD Office of Inspector General and SBA Office of Inspector General.

Deputy Attorneys General Mark Kurzawa and John A. Nicodemo are representing the state.

They are working with Lt. David Nolan, Sgt. Fred Weidman and Analyst Alison Callery, who are coordinating and conducting the investigations for the Division of Criminal Justice Financial & Computer Crimes Bureau, along with Detectives Katelyn Sake, Scott Stevens and Eric Ludwick.

MUGSHOT: Courtesy NJ ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE

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