TRENTON, N. J. – a Pennsylvania man who works at a Superstorm Sandy housing recovery center in New Jersey requested thousands of dollars in bribes and fictitious costs of the storm victims by telling them that he could accelerate and/or increase the amount of money they receive, authorities announced Monday.
The New Jersey Attorney General’s Office, says Ronald Gold, 43, Norristown, was charged with bribery in official and political matters, theft by deception, attempted theft by deception and identity theft in an indictment handed up Friday by a state grand jury. It was Monday.
Golden worked at a state-operated housing recovery center in Newark. He was hired in June 2013 after he allegedly used his father, date of birth and social security number to circumvent a background check, authorities said. He was dismissed in October 2014 for reasons not related to the charges in the indictment, according to the Attorney General’s Office.
Golden allegedly requested and received $5,770 in general, kickbacks, and fraudulent charges of the two victims and tried to ask for an extra $ 3,000 bribe from another victim. But the authorities say Golden had no authority to approve grants, increase or accelerate the procedure.
In one case, Golden falsely claimed that he was a lawyer and obtained a $200 “deposit” of a woman who he offered to represent them in a lawsuit against her insurance company, authorities said. Golden reportedly received most of the bribes and fees in cash, but on two occasions, receive a check or prepaid debit cards.
It was not known Monday if Golden has retained a lawyer. A telephone number for him could not be found.
More than 220 people overall are responsible for the Sand-and the related fraud in New Jersey, including the costs incurred by the Attorney General’s Office, the federal and national partners and the four county prosecutors, to take part in the state’s Sandy Fraud Task Force. About half of these cases there is a “primary residence fraud,” where defendants applied for disaster relief funds for vacation, rental or secondary homes by falsely claiming that homes were their primary homes when the storm in October 2012.