Nassau County Police have arrested four men who are accused of falsely collecting about $72,000 in shelter benefits from the Nassau County Department of Social Services.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that Joseph Gioe, 53, of East Rockaway, was arrested along with Anthony Carter, 24, of Mastic, Freeman Cox, 47, of Hempstead, and Anthony Williams, 50, of Roosevelt. They were charged with third-degree welfare fraud, third-degree grand larceny and third-degree possession of a forged instrument.
Additional charges to Cox were fourth-degree welfare fraud and fourth-degree grand larceny. Arrest warrants have been issued for two other people that are accused of defrauding the DSS.
“Those who abuse shelter benefits steal from taxpayers and compromise essential services for families who need a roof over their head during hard times,” Singas said in a release. “These defendants allegedly submitted bogus receipts and pocketed unauthorized reimbursements, and we will aggressively prosecute them.”
A review of documents submitted to the DSS by the defendants revealed several “unusual looking” receipts. A DSS investigation concluded that the receipts submitted by the four individuals were allegedly fraudulent because they were either fabricated or doctored.
According to the DSS, they had amounts and dates changed to make it appear that the clients stayed at the hotel, when they had not. In some cases, the amount was allegedly changed on the receipt to gain more money from the department than the amount the hotel charged. After it was discovered that four homeless clients’ receipts were allegedly falsified, the DSS referred the case to the district attorney’s office.
Gioe allegedly altered motel receipts he submitted to the DSS to reflect a higher rate than he was paying and received over $30,000 in shelter benefits between June 2015 and March 2016. He was arrested on Feb. 28 and is represented by David Falkner, Esq. He is due back in court April 27.
If convicted, the men could face up to seven years in prison.