Six more couples were busted for alleged welfare fraud in Lakewood, NJ, officials said Thursday, adding to a growing list of suspected cheats from that shore town.
FBI agents and investigators with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office’s Economic Crimes Unit knocked on doors at about 6 a.m. on Thursday, handing over charging documents and court dates for them to appear between now and Tuesday.
The most recently arrested are accused to scoring nearly $400,000 in elaborate schemes to get Medicaid, food and home energy benefits when they weren’t eligible for them.
“The nature of the criminal events investigated and basic charges allege that the defendants misrepresented their income, declaring amounts that were low enough to receive the program’s benefits, when in fact their income was too high to qualify,” according to a statement from Ocean County prosecutors.
“The investigations revealed that the defendants received income from numerous sources that they failed to disclose on required program applications.”
Ocean County prosecutors charged 14 Lakewood residents last week, accusing them bilking taxpayers of more than $2 million.
The 12 newly named defendants were:
- Eliezer and Elkie Sorotzkin, 33 and 31, were accused of wrongfully collecting $74,960 in Medicaid funds between January 2011 and December 2013.
- Samuel and Esther Serhofer, 45 and 44, allegedly pocketed $72,685 in Medicaid between January 2009 to December 2013.
- Yisroel and Rachel Merkin, 37 and 34, are suspected of improperly taking home $70,557,51 in Medicaid, food and home energy benefits between January 2011 and December 2014.
- Jerome Menchel, 33, and Mottel Friedman, 30, were accused of wrongly scoring $63,839 in Medicaid and food benefits between January 2011 and July 2014.
- Tzvi and Estee Braun, 35 and 34, were busted for allegedly ripping off $62,746.74 in Medicaid, food and children’s medical benefits between January 2009 and December 2013.
- Moche and Nechama Hirschmann, 30 and 27, are suspected of wrongfully collecting $53,418.39 in Medicaid and food benefits between January 2011 and December 2015.
A rep for the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office declined to say if the defendants know each other or worked in concert.