A FDNY firefighter has been charged with grand larceny, and his wife additionally with forgery and other crimes, for filing claims to FEMA to collect Hurricane Sandy benefits.
Christopher Poje, 43, and his wife Margaret, 39, allegedly collected more than $25,000 in benefits, according to Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown.
According to the criminal complaint, Margaret Poje filed a claim for damages with FEMA on Nov. 11, 2012, in which she stated that her primary house residency was on 89th Street in Howard Beach. In reality, this is a secondary residence that she owns with her brother. She claimed a total of $19,556 in benefits for the property.
This is illegal because you can only receive money for damage to a primary residence, not a secondary one. Apparently, while the lease submitted to FEMA seemed to contain the signature of a realtor who was Margaret Poje’s co-worker at a local real estate agency, the realtor stated that he didn’t sign it.
Brown said that Christopher Poje sent in two months’ receipts for an apartment on East 37th Street in Brooklyn, which they apparently used as temporary housing after the superstorm. They received $6,526 in benefits to compensate them for the living arrangement.
Christopher and Margaret Poje were charged in two separate complaints with third-degree grand larceny; Margaret faces additional charges of second-degree forgery, second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument and offering a false instrument for filing. Both defendants face up to seven years behind bars if convicted.