Feds arrest 1 NC man, 2 NY women for Sandy relief fund fraud

CENTRAL ISLIP, NY (AP) — Two women from Long Island and a man from North Carolina have been arrested on fraud charges for falsely collecting Superstorm Sandy disaster relief funds.

Federal prosecutors say 37-year-old Jena Sowinski, of Merrick, and 31-year-old Tselane Gibbs, of Valley Stream, both received over $18,000 in FEMA assistance by claiming their rental apartments became uninhabitable. They say Sowinski’s apartment suffered only minor damage and Gibbs never relocated to another apartment even though she accepted the funds.

Prosecutors say 52-year-old Joseph McClam, of Raleigh, received $32,000 for a Brooklyn property that had been mostly vacant since it had been damaged in a 2010 fire.

Newsday says all three were arraigned Tuesday. None were required to enter a plea. Lawyers for Sowinski and Gibbs declined comment. Information on McClam’s lawyer was not available.

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