What to Know
- A former Hoboken police officer and his wife have been sentenced to prison and probation, respectively, in a Sandy-related fraud
- Nikola Lulaj and Majlinda Lulaj lied on applications to steal $187,000 in money designated for Sandy survivors
- The two claimed they were living in their rental property in Seaside Heights during the hurricane when in fact they were living in Dumont
A former Hoboken police officer has been sentenced to prison in a fraud conviction related to money he got after Hurricane Sandy, prosecutors say.
Nikola Lulaj, 45, of Seaside Heights, was sentenced to five years in state prison, and wife Majlinda Lulaj, 32, was sentenced to three years probation and 50 hours of community service. The couple was also ordered to pay full restitution of $187,000.
An Ocean County jury found the two guilty of conspiracy, theft by deception and unsworn falsification last October.
Prosecutors said the husband and wife received FEMA assistance, state grants and other public money designated for Sandy survivors by lying on applications for the relief funds.
They'd claimed the lived primarily in their Webster Avenue home in Seaside Heights, which was damaged during Sandy, when in fact they were living in Dumont, and was using the Jersey Shore home as a vacataion and rental property.
Lulaj resigned from the Hoboken Police Department after he was convicted.
“For a police officer to commit this type of fraud is particularly egregious, because officers take an oath to uphold the law and we rightly hold them to the highest standards,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. “When disaster strikes, we cannot allow dishonest applicants to divert disaster relief funds from the intended recipients – namely, those victims whose primary homes were destroyed or damaged.”