By Carlotta Mohamed
A wealthy Queens woman pleaded guilty last week to charges of stealing more than $167,000 in welfare benefits by concealing her annual household income that was close to $225,000, the Queens district attorney and the state inspector general said.
“In pleading guilty, the defendant has admitted to stealing funds from the Medicaid system – a program intended to help those who are truly in need,” said DA Richard Brown. “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to stop those who would cheat the system for their own benefit.”
Galit Levi, 31, of 82nd Avenue in Hollis Hills pleaded guilty to welfare fraud in the fifth degree, the DA said. Concurrent with her plea, Levi paid $167,000 in restitution to the city’s Human Resources Administration and was ordered to pay a $1,000 fine, according to Brown.
While claiming poverty to receive welfare benefits, Levi was married to and living with Assaf Moshe, also known as Joe Levi, co-owner of Kings Development Group LLC, a real estate and holdings company. He was indicted last year on charges of defrauding and stealing homes from multiple homeowners across New York City, targeting the sick and elderly who were in financial distress, the DA said. Levi was not criminally implicated as part of that real estate theft scheme, Brown said.
An investigation by Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott found that between 2012 and 2015, Levi repeatedly filed documents that falsified and concealed her household income of between $200,000 to nearly $225,000 while applying for and recertifying her need for taxpayer-funded health-care benefits destined for those in serious need of financial help.
In total, Levi stole more than $67,000 from the Medicaid system during those years, according to Scott.
She included information that she and her family — including her husband and four children — lived in a one-bedroom basement apartment with total household expenses amounting to $650 per month, Brown said. During the time period involved, Levi also concealed the fact that she owned a rental income property in Flushing.
“This defendant’s audacious abuse of the welfare system to unlawfully enhance her lifestyle has earned her a criminal conviction,” said Scott. “I will continue to use all of the resources at my disposal and work tirelessly with my law enforcement partners to protect public funds meant for those in the most need of financial assistance.”
Reach reporter Carlotta Mohamed by e-mail at cmoha