NBC 4 New York
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says Queens resident Caterina Curatolo cheated the state out of nearly $100,000 by pretending to be a victim of Irene and Sandy. Ida Siegal reports.
A Queens woman has been arrested and charged with grand larceny and insurance fraud among other crimes for allegedly posing as a Sandy evacuee to scam more than $87,000 in benefits, authorities said.
Caterina Curatolo, of Queens, was led out of a Holiday Inn in Park Slope in handcuffs Monday morning. Authorities said it was the third area hotel she's stayed in since last November after falsely claiming the storm left her homeless. Curatolo was provided housing on taxpayers' dime for more than 269 days, according to state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Curatolo allegedly claimed her home on 159th Street in Fresh Meadows, Queens was damaged during Sandy. But Scheiderman's office said the roof damage pre-dated the storm and that she had made a similar claim after Hurricane Irene in 2011. But Curatolo was far from homeless as she had claimed -- she owned her home and the home next door too, Schneiderman said.
She is also accused of spending more than $3,500 in food benefit cards on clothing. She faces a maximum of seven years in prison if the charges are proven.
Nobody answered the door at her Queens home. A message was left with her lawyer seeking comment.