TRENTON - New Jersey authorities have charged four homeowners with trying to get post-Superstorm Sandy aid they were not entitled to by claiming that vacation homes were their primary residences.
The four received benefits ranging from nearly $13,000 to more than $22,000. All are charged with theft in the first prosecutions of their kind in the state since the October 2012 storm.
Investigators say two of the homes had been vacant before the storm.
Ronald McKenzie, 62, of Highlands Ranch, Colo. received $20,358 for a home in Little Egg Harbor. He claimed the home was his primary residence which was untrue.
Deborah Young, 54, of Maple Shade, N.J., received $21,128 for a home in Tuckerton. She claimed it was her primary home which was untrue.
Richard Maciocha, 49, of Mantua, N.J., received $2,820 plus a $10,000 HUD grant for a home in Little Egg Harbor. He claimed his vacation home was his primary residence.
Dawn Bye, 46, of Staten Island, N.Y., received $22,410. She claimed her Seaside Heights vacation rental property was her primary residence.
Under federal rules, only primary residences are eligible for government aid. Some rental properties are eligible for aid, but not through the programs allegedly abused in these cases.
Acting Attorney General John Hoffman says state and federal officials are continuing to investigate similar cases.