Facing Sandy-recovery aid fraud charges

TRENTON – 

A Nutley woman is facing up to five years in prison and fines totalling $25,000 for allegedly filing fraudulent applications for federal and state relief funds related to Superstorm Sandy, the state Attorney General’s Office reported last week.

According to Acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman, Kathleen F. Ambro, 58, received a total of $12,270 in aid. She was charged criminally last Thursday with thirddegree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Following the October 2012 destruction, Ambro allegedly filed false applications for a FEMA grant and for state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and Reconstruction, Rehabilitation, Elevation and Mitigation Program.

Authorities said Ambro claimed that a storm-damaged home she owns on Rosewood Drive in Bayville was her primary residence, when, in fact, her primary residence was a home she owns with a relative in Nutley.

Ambro reportedly received $2,270 in FEMA rental assistance and a $10,000 RSP grant.

The theft-by-deception charge carries a sentence of three to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000; the unsworn falsification count, a prison term of up to 18 months and a fine of $10,000.

Since March 2014, the Attorney General’s Office has filed criminal charges against 23 people for allegedly engaging in fraud related to Sandy.

Cases were investigated by detectives of the N.J. Division of Criminal Justice and special agents of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Department of Housing and Urban Development.

– Karen Zautyk 

The Observer Staff