Four New Jersey residents are joining the more than 120 individuals already charged with filing fraudulent applications for Superstorm Sandy relief. According to officials, fraudulent claims are responsible for diverting upward of $8 million from relief funds.

The four newly charged individuals falsely claimed that their homes that were damaged on the Jersey Shore were their primary place of residence. These fraudulent claims were made on grant and loan applications. As a result, the four were charged with theft by deception. These four individuals could face up to five years in prison if they are convicted.

Even years after the storm hit, there are a number of Sandy victims who feel that they have been forgotten. Many victims feel that businesses receive more assistance from the government than homeowners. Some victims claim that they are financially worse off now after the storm than they were prior to when the storm hit.

The fraudulent activity in the aftermath of Sandy extends beyond fraudulent claims by property owners. An Ocean County-based company has been charged with deceptive practices because of performing shoddy work on homes and then charging them more than what they received. These deceptive practices led to homeowners being displaced.

A criminal defense attorney could assist an individual charged with theft or crimes related to fraud. It’s important to note that legal counsel often protects people who are falsely accused. A criminal defense attorney can help a client at any stage of the legal process, including during a trial before a judge and jury.