TRENTON, NJ — A Belmar man is facing criminal charges after receiving $12,270 in Superstorm Sandy federal relief funds for allegedly filing fraudulent applications.
Ryan K. Spill, 28, is alleged to have falsely claimed that when the storm struck on October 29, 2012, he lived on South Boston Drive in Little Egg Harbor Township, although at that time his primary residence was in Freehold, and Little Egg Harbor home was a rental property, according to the N.J. Attorney General’s Office.
As a result, Spill received $2,270 in rental assistance offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and a $10,000 state grant through the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP).
He is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification. If found guilty, Spill faces a sentence of three to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 for the third-degree charges, while fourth-degree charges carry a sentence of up to 18 months in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Since March 2014, the state Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against 86 people for allegedly filing fraudulent applications for federal relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy. “We charge that these defendants stole from disaster relief programs and by extension from the victims who were hardest hit by the storm,” said Attorney General Christopher S. Porrino. “We’ll continue to charge every cheat we identify who diverted funds from these recovery programs and from victims in need.”
In continuing its aggressive efforts to investigate fraud in Sandy relief programs, the Attorney General’s Office is working jointly with the N.J. Department of Community Affairs (DCA), and the Offices of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Also assisting is the N.J. Division of Consumer Affairs, N.J. Motor Vehicle Commission, N.J. Office of the State Comptroller and the nonprofit National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB).