By John Burton
FREEHOLD — A Monmouth County grand jury has indicted a Middletown woman for allegedly defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) out of nearly $12,000 in disaster assistance.
The grand jury on Friday handed up a one-count indictment on Friday charging Colleen Bowers, 32, with third-degree theft by deception, for falsely applying the assistance claiming a property she owns and leases to residential tenants and was damaged by Sandy was her primary residence, according to Charles Webster, a spokesman for the Monmouth County Prosecutor’s Office.
In the days following Sandy in October 2013, authorities alleged Bowers filed for financial aid for the residential property on Griggs Avenue, in the township’s Port Monmouth section, and was awarded $11,839.
The matter came to light after the tenants also applied for FEMA assistance but were denied because of Bowers’ previous application, Webster said.
At no point did Bowers live in the home with the tenants, who would deliver their rent to Bowers home in Highlands, authorities said.
Bowers remains free on bail. A conviction on the theft charge carries with it a maximum penalty of a five-year prison sentence, according to Webster.