Seeks Inquiry into Altered Insurance Payments for N.J. Victims & Review of Sandy Claims
(2nd LEGISLATIVE DISTRICT) – Assemblyman Vince Mazzeo on Thursday asked the New Jersey Attorney General to launch a criminal investigation into the large number of engineering reports prepared after Hurricane Sandy that were allegedly altered to minimize insurance payments to New Jersey residents who sustained damage.
Mazzeo (D-Atlantic) noted the New York Attorney General has opened a criminal investigation, while the Federal Emergency Management Agency is also looking into it.
“On behalf of the thousands of Atlantic County families who were victims of Hurricane Sandy, many of whom are still not back in their homes, I respectfully request that you immediately initiate a criminal investigation into these disgraceful and potentially illegal actions,” Mazzeo wrote in a letter to acting Attorney General John J. Hoffman.
Mazzeo noted a recent article by The New York Times found that in New Jersey “hundreds of new cases could soon emerge when engineering firms and insurance companies begin turning over all draft reports.” He also noted FEMA is reopening for review every flood insurance claim filed by Sandy victims.
“While a great first step, FEMA review does not carry the force of law,” Mazzeo wrote. “In the course of your investigation, I request that you similarly review the claims of the hundreds of families who were initially denied FEMA funds back in 2012 and 2013. With such a large number of claims filed immediately following the storm – and with FEMA and the State still figuring out how to handle the processing of applications – oversight was lacking and the integrity of the applications for those who were denied could have been tampered with in a similar manner.”
Added Mazzeo, “It is our duty as public servants to protect victims of natural disasters, and we should investigate and prosecute to the fullest extent of the law anyone who seeks to defraud our residents.”