Fake FEMA application
If you’ve been accused by Federal Emergence Management Administration as per filing a fake claim, then you are exposed to prison term or high monetary fines, at best. We have experience defending FEMA fraud cases all across the nation. Call us (212) 729-1632 ASAP.
After all of the destruction that Hurricane Sandy left in the New York and New Jersey area, it is almost sad to say that, even now more than a month later, scam artists have been out in full force taking advantage of the situation for their own profit and many times leaving the victim in a worse situation.
It is actually a crime to exploit victims after a natural disaster by price gouging, false claims, insurance scams and charity scams. Many of these schemes come under the Penal Code definition for fraud and others come under “rent gouging”.
At the Law Office of Bukh Law Firm, PLLC, we like to have all of our clients informed and as most of them are in this New York/New Jersey area, we would like to post some information about these fraudulent actions and steps you can take to avoid these crimes. Also we will post the fraud statutes for New York and the penalties for violating them. As always, if you are charged with fraud in this situation, we are experienced NY defense attorneys that can get to the bottom of your case immediately.
Natural Disasters Can Be Devastating, So As FEMA Charges
Personal information scams:
FEMA has reported that people have gone up to victims and have said that they are from FEMA and have asked these people for their personal information including their Social Security numbers and then these victims have their identities stolen.
WHAT TO DO: FEMA will never solicit this information from you unless you have contacted them. Never give this type of information out over the phone or to an unsolicited visitor.
These have appeared after Sandy just as much as they occur after every large disaster. One thing that is making it easier for this fraudulent activity is the internet and social media. Fake Victims: People have posted pictures of damage and wrecked homes and then solicited contributions from caring people online.
WHAT TO DO: The charities that you know are legitimate can use your donations at this time so it is best to stick with them and check out any solicitation for a donation before writing a check or even worse giving out your credit card information, no matter how “legitimate” it sounds. Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Top Rated Criminal Lawyer
Arkady Bukh has a long track record of representing clients accused of serious federal and state crimes in NYC
TOP RATED ON: SUPER LAWYERS, AVVO, NATIONAL TRIAL LAWYERS
Every disaster that has a great deal of property damage almost always has the proverbial “crooked contractors” showing up, saying they will fix things fast, do a bad or no job at all and leave the victims with no money to pay real contractors to do the real work.
WHAT TO DO: This is a hard time and you need the work done soon, the weather is getting colder and yet this is not the time to just sign on with anyone. Contractors have licenses so make sure that you are dealing with a licensed contractor, check their references, work with your neighbors on this. Call the local business associations. Also if no one in your area can get roof work done and someone says their looking to repair your roof, etc., be immediately suspicious.
People in disaster situations are very often in need of funds right away and are easy prey to con artists who tell them that they can get their FEMA funds or insurance funds for them quicker than going through normal channels will do. Unfortunately, victims of this type of fraud often sign contracts that actually do create an obligation to pay the perpetrators part of their FEMA money and become victims of identity theft.
WHAT TO DO: For all of your claims, deal with your insurance company directly. Even now, more than a month later they have set up call centers and added adjusters to move your claims quickly. Also, deal with FEMA directly, go to them and make sure that you are dealing with a FEMA agent. They will not ask you to sign over a percentage of your money or give personal information on first contact. This should be a red flag.
ABOVE ALL, if you feel you have been a victim of a fraud perpetrated on you by a con artist, report it right away. Your local law enforcement agencies need to be on the lookout for these people in your area and need to know that this has been happening. You can also report insurance and fake FEMA agents to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.
Fraud is not taken lightly in the State of New York, and below are the some relevant NY fraud statutes that can apply post Hurricane Sandy.
Many of the above crimes are codified in the section called “other frauds”, §190.00 through §190.86 of the Penal Code, those listed below seem relevant.
§190.25 and §190.26 – Criminal impersonation. This is actually what it says, when someone impersonates an official say of FEMA or an insurance adjuster or anyone that they not really are for financial gain and to defraud. Second degree is a Class A misdemeanor and first degree is an E Felony.
§190.60 and §190.65 – Scheme to Defraud. This is once again what it says, the defendant presents a scheme to defraud the victim out of money or property and actually gains some property from the victim. Second degree is a Class A misdemeanor and first degree is an E felony.
§190.77 through §190.83 – Identity Theft. Identity theft is when a person takes on the identity of the victim for the purposes of financial gain. However, this crime has many levels, in the third degree, they must commit a Class A misdemeanor, in the second degree they must commit or attempt to commit a Class E felony, in the first degree they must commit or attempt to commit a Class D felony. Then the Penal Code goes on to codify three degrees of unlawful possession of personal identification information, from Class A misdemeanor to a Class E Felony.
§176 – Insurance Fraud. A person is guilty of insurance when he commits an act of fraud against an insurer, which can be a false claim, giving false information to further a claim, falsifying insurance information and other acts against the interests of an insurer. There are 5 degrees of insurance fraud and the highest is a Class B Felony.
All of these crimes, from the smallest degree, can have a penalty of some jail time and all of the felonies are serious marks on anyone’s record. Not everyone charged with these crimes is guilty, naturally, and part of a scam can be to make an innocent person appear guilty of these types of fraud. If you think that there is the possibility of being suspected fraud, you should contact an experienced criminal defense attorney immediately.
The New York criminal lawyers at Law Office of Bukh Law Firm, PLLC has years of experience in this area of criminal and our defense team will work hard to make sure that you are not innocently charged with this type of fraud.