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Toms River Woman Charged in Sandy Aid Fraud Case

In all, four individuals charged in various Sandy aid-related schemes

A Toms River woman was one of four people charged by the state attorney general's office Wednesday with scheming to collect Superstorm Sandy aid money to which they were not entitled.

Rita O’Connor, 60, is facing a charge of theft by deception after authorities say she fraudulently obtained $2,270 in FEMA rental assistance by falsifying checks and receipts for two months of rent that she purportedly paid to her daughter to rent a home in Ridgewood. Authorities say O'Connor, whose home was damaged in the storm, never rented the home, which was not owned by her daughter.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General referred this case to the Division of Criminal Justice, the attorney general's office said.

The other three individuals charged Wednesday were involved in distinctly different schemes, it is alleged, including a West Chester, Pa., woman who claimed a home he owned in Manahawkin was her primary residence when it was actually a vacation home. Mary Conlin, 51, received $137,400 in loan proceeds, but is now charged with second-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Another woman, Leonor Canales, 40, of Orlando, Fla., formerly of Elizabeth, is facing charges of third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification for collecting $22,172 in FEMA rental assistance through February 2014 while she was also collecting Section 8 housing assistance.

Finally, Magdi Mosaid, 55, of Hasbrouck Heights, was charged with the same two offenses after it is alleged he filed two fraudulent applications for Homeowner Resettlement grants for rental properties in Little Ferry and Rochelle Park that he claimed were his primary residences.

“With these ongoing prosecutions, we’re delivering a wake-up call to anyone who would consider taking Sandy relief funds through fraud,” said Elie Honig, director of the state Division of Criminal Justice. “Falsifying these applications is a crime, and anyone who does it will be caught and charged as a criminal. We continue to investigate these cases with our state and federal partners."

Mike L July 17, 2014 at 06:53 AM
Let us not forget that Chris Christie took funds for an TV Ad with his family......
grace July 17, 2014 at 09:01 AM
he did? how do you know that ? but what about that commercial/video the rock made him pull?
Mike L July 17, 2014 at 09:38 AM
He Did!!!!Where were you when everyone was making a stink about the use of Sandy's monies. And the new "Hollywood TV. Ad that being shown wasn't done for free either, who paid for that?
ed mays July 17, 2014 at 11:17 AM
Stay on point here. looks like very little investigation followup on these applications while crooks like these get approved while other good honest people are still waiting for govt assistance to rebuild after Sandy.
Mac July 17, 2014 at 03:26 PM
with the type and style of elected leadership we have in Ocean County, it is virtually impossible to fill out any paperwork for government relief without being legitimately suspected of fraud - organized fraud is like an Ocean County badge of honor - corruption is so well established in Ocean County that we are now attracting North Jersey political losers like Tom MacArthur for a second chance to be America's next Joe Vicari


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