Queens woman busted for posing as Sandy victim to get benefits

Credit: Thinkstock
The woman racked up bills of more than $80,000. Credit: Thinkstock

A Queens woman who received thousands in relief benefits was arrested for posing as a victim of Superstorm Sandy, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

Caterina Curatolo was busted for multiple counts of grand larceny, insurance fraud, scheme to defraud and falsifying business records, among other charges, for pretending her Fresh Meadows home was inhabitable after Sandy.

“Today’s arrest shows that scammers who trade on tragedy will be exposed and punished,” Schneiderman said in a statement.

According to Schneiderman’s felony complaint, Curatolo stayed in hotel rooms meant for Sandy evacuees for more than 269 days, racking up a bill of roughly $83,500.

When Curatolo was picked up by investigators, she was still staying at a Brooklyn Holiday Inn Express.

Curatolo also allegedly spent $3,590 from the city and Red Cross that was meant for food at Best Buy, Dressbarn, Marshalls and other retailers.

Schneiderman’s office said damage to Curatolo’s home in Queens was sustained two years before Sandy. She also owns the home next door, where undercover officers observed her picking up mail.

The complaint alleges Curatolo also made an auto insurance claim for her car, though an investigation by an insurance company showed no signs of water damage.

Schneiderman’s office also alleges Curatolo made a claim for roof damage after Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Curatolo’s attorney did not return a phone call requesting comment.

If convicted, Curatolo faces up to seven years in prison.

Follow Anna Sanders on Twitter: @AnnaESanders


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Chelsea Clinton pregnant with first child

Chelsea Clinton is pregnant with her first child.

National

Divers struggle in search for South Korean ferry…

By Jungmin Jang and Narae KimMOKPO/JINDO, South Korea (Reuters) - Rescuers struggled with strong waves and murky waters on Thursday as they searched for hundreds…

National

New Hampshire moves to decriminalize adultery

For the first time in hundreds of years, it's about to be legal to cheat on your spouse in New Hampshire.

National

Obama: Ukraine diplomacy holds hope but sanctions ready

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Thursday talks between Russia and Western powers aimed at ending tensions in Ukraine have potential but that…

Movies

Review: 'Transcendence' is not stupid but sometimes lacks…

The cyberthriller "Transcendence" explores artificial intelligence, nanotechnology and other ethical quandaries, but has too much ambition, if anything.

Television

Shane West talks WGN America's 'Salem'

The actor on history lessons, a new network and showing his butt.

Music

Both feet on the ground with Aimee Mann…

What began with a cool double-bill of Ted Leo opening for Aimee Mann morphed into a full-fledged collaborative project that they're calling The Both. “There…

The Word

Lawsuit accuses 'X-Men' director Bryan Singer of raping…

A new lawsuit accuses director Bryan Singer of sexual assault against a minor.

NBA

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams…

2014 NBA Finals odds: Ranking which playoff teams have the best shot at a championship. The Thunder, Clippers, Heat and Rockets lead the way.

NFL

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

2014 Patriots, full NFL schedule release date announced

NBA

Fantasy basketball: Finding next year's NBA studs

Before we put the 2013-14 fantasy basketball season to bed, it’s worth thinking about next year’s breakouts while they’re fresh in our mind.

NBA

Rondo on rebuild: Count me in

Celtics point guard Rajon Rondo fielded questions from reporters last night after his team dropped a 118-102 decision to the Washington Wizards (44-38), which finally…

Style

Light-up nail art syncs with phone

This Japanese technology syncs light-up nail art with your phone.

Wellbeing

Why is dance cardio taking off in NYC?

Instructors at some of the city's hottest classes explain why.

Travel

Earth Day travel in the Florida Keys

See why this eco-friendly destination deserves your attention.

Tech

Sorry, Facebook — FarmVille goes mobile with 'Country…

Zynga has released a version of the hit "FarmVille" tailored for smartphones and tablets in the hope of reaping a bumper crop of players.