By JASON GREENBERG
New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott and the New York State Department of Labor today announced the arrest of a Long Island certified public accountant (“CPA”) with a Florida vacation home who created a fake identity and a bogus employment record as part of a $207,000 Social Security, unemployment insurance and welfare fraud scheme.
Abraham Grossman, 76, of Chase Commons, Yaphank, was arrested on the federal criminal charge of theft of public money (18 USC §641). The charge carries a maximum potential penalty of 10 years in prison if convicted.
An investigation initiated by the State Department of Labor’s Office of Special Investigations and joined by Inspector General Leahy Scott found that Grossman, while working as a CPA and collecting Social Security Retirement benefits, created a false identity by obtaining a second Social Security number and New York State driver’s license under an assumed name. He used those documents, as well as his fictitious former employment at four different businesses, to fraudulently obtain additional Social Security Retirement, unemployment insurance and public assistance benefits to which he was not entitled. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development, as well as federal investigators, assisted in the investigation.
“From food stamps and Social Security to home heating aid and unemployment benefits, this defendant used a litany of bogus employment and fake identity schemes to horde government benefits meant to help those who are truly in need,” said Inspector General Leahy Scott. “This investigation, with our state and federal law enforcement partners, has put a stop to an egregious and ghastly abuse of the public benefits systems, and I remain committed to using all of my powers and resources to pursue anyone who steals public funds.”
From February 2012 to present, Grossman applied for and received unemployment insurance in both New York and New Jersey under his real and fake identities. Under both identities, Grossman’s eligibility for benefits was premised upon his loss of employment from businesses that no longer existed and that had never declared wages for Grossman. He also failed to report the income he received as a CPA and altogether fraudulently obtained approximately $124,000 worth of unemployment insurance benefits.
Through his alleged scheme, Grossman improperly obtained welfare benefits, including food stamps, home energy assistance program (“HEAP”) and Medicaid benefits worth $20,744.23 from 2012 to present. Grossman received these welfare benefits fraudulently by failing to report income he obtained in the form of unemployment insurance benefits received from fabricated jobs in New York and New Jersey, income he received as a CPA, and Social Security Retirement benefits he received under a false identity from 2012 to present. The investigation alleged that Grossman also received about $63,000 in Social Security Retirement benefits to which he was not entitled.
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