By Karen Frantz
The founder of the United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center in South Ozone Park was arrested on charges she stole tens of thousands of dollars from the organization’s lunch program through an overbilling and kickback scheme, the state attorney general said Monday.
Chan Jamoona, 66, who also serves on the Queens General Assembly, was charged with grand larceny and conspiracy along with several other counts and faces a five-to-15 year sentence.
“By stealing from the senior center lunch program, the defendants put personal greed ahead of the basic needs of New York seniors,” Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Monday. “When it comes to services vital for our seniors, we cannot accept fraud as a cost of doing business.”
According to Schneiderman, Jamoona and her daughter, Veda Jamoona, 28, who is a staffer in Comptroller John Liu’s public affairs office and a former executive director of the council, are accused of making off with $50,000 between 2007 and 2010 by sending fake bills for seniors’ meals to the city Department for the Aging, which funded the program.
Steven Rajkumar, 57, owner of the council’s caterer, Sonny’s Roti Shop in South Ozone Park, was also charged in connection with the scheme. He is accused of receiving payments for the false invoices and kicking some of the money back to Chan Jamoona, Schneiderman said.
When asked for comment, both Chan Jamoona and Rajkumar said the information provided from the attorney general’s office was incorrect, but neither would elaborate.
Liu’s office released a statement saying Veda Jamoona was suspended without pay until further notice. She has worked at the comptroller’s office since January 2012 at an annual salary of $55,000.
Reach reporter Karen Frantz by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.