Authorities in Ocean County have charged two Lakewood men with fraudulently creating a FEMA award letter promising $150,000 in Superstorm Sandy aid in order to secure a bank loan for their business.
David Faria, 42, and Chaim Gottlieb, 42, were arrested Wednesday and face charges of theft by deception, theft, and falsifying records.
According to the Ocean County Prosecutor's Office, investigators began looking into the activities of the pair after they presented an award letter to OceanFirst Bank, claiming
approval for a $150,000 grant from FEMA. The bank's Fraud and Security Department eventually contacted authorities.
It is alleged that the defendants
hoped the letter would convince the bank to approve a loan in excess of
$75,000 in order to purchase two vehicles from Ford Motor Company for
their Ocean County Search & Rescue Company located in Lakewood, the prosecutor's office said in a statement.
"With the help
of FEMA officials the letter was confirmed fraudulent and no monies
were ever awarded to the defendant or their company," Prosecutor Joseph D. Coronato said.
The two men were
arrested early Wednesday afternoon at their Lakewood residences.
Faria was lodged in the Ocean County Jail in default of $25,000 cash bail set by Superior Court Judge Wendel E. Daniels. Gottlieb was free on bail.
arrest warrants were executed by Ocean County Prosecutor Detectives
James Conroy, Brad Frank and Amanda O'Mara, with assistance from the
Lakewood Police Department, officials said.