Queens woman is accused of posing as storm victim - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Superstorm Sandy

Queens woman is accused of posing as storm victim

Posted: Updated:
After Sandy After Sandy

DAVID B. CARUSO | AP

NEW YORK (AP) -- A New York City woman who spent the past 9 1/2 months portraying herself as a victim of Superstorm Sandy is now facing charges that she made it all up to collect insurance money, free hotel lodging and thousands of dollars in relief aid.

Caterina Curatolo, 48, was arrested Monday at a hotel in Brooklyn where she had been staying at taxpayer expense because of her supposed inability to return to her Queens home.

In a series of aid applications and interviews with caseworkers and insurance adjusters, Curatolo had claimed that the house had been had been struck by lightning four times and ruined by flooding during the October storm.

In reality, investigators with the attorney general's office said, the house sat in a neighborhood far from any flooding and had been in a state of severe disrepair for years, to the point where neighbors had repeatedly complained about its dilapidated state.

The investigation also revealed that Curatolo had made a similar claim about storm damage after Hurricane Irene struck the city in 2011, officials said.

That time, she received more than $7,700 in grants from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. This year, her take was much higher, authorities said. A city program for storm refugees spent $83,500 putting her up in hotel rooms for 269 days. She got another $3,590 in benefits from the Red Cross, according to the criminal complaint.

Curatolo's arrest "shows that scammers who trade on tragedy will be exposed and punished," Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

Curatolo's lawyer, Elizabeth Pruser, didn't immediately return a phone message Tuesday afternoon.

Authorities said Curatolo also filed an auto insurance claim contending that her Jeep Grand Cherokee had been ruined in Sandy's deluge, but an adjuster with her insurer, GEICO, found none of the telltale signs of flood damage, according to investigators. She filed another homeowner's insurance claim for more than $15,000, saying that her roof had suffered water damage and that a ceiling had collapsed, the criminal complaint said.

Curatolo was arraigned late Monday at a courthouse in Queens on charges including grand larceny, insurance fraud and falsifying business records. A judge released her pending trial.

  • Queens NewsQueens NewsMore>>

  • Several new animals on display at NYC zoos

    Several new animals on display at NYC zoos

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 4:44 PM EDT2014-07-29 20:44:02 GMT
    WCS photoWCS photo
    The Wildlife Conservation Society's zoos in New York City have debut some interesting new animals in their habitats in recent weeks. The flagship Bronx Zoo is now home to a herd of endangered Turkmenian flare-horned markhor, a species of mountain goat native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Some river otter pups are getting to know their home in Prospect Park, and the Queens Zoo has some new majestic American bison.
    The Wildlife Conservation Society's zoos in New York City have debut some interesting new animals in their habitats in recent weeks. The flagship Bronx Zoo is now home to a herd of endangered Turkmenian flare-horned markhor, a species of mountain goat native to Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan. Some river otter pups are getting to know their home in Prospect Park, and the Queens Zoo has some new majestic American bison.
  • Queens teen pleads guilty in crash that killed 4 friends on Long Island

    Queens teen pleads guilty in crash that killed 4 friends on Long Island

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 2:54 PM EDT2014-07-29 18:54:40 GMT
    A New York teenager has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in a 2012 high-speed crash that killed four of his friends and split his new car in two. Joseph Beer entered the plea Tuesday. He faces five to 15 years in prison, though his attorney is seeking youthful offender status because he was 17 at the time.
    A New York teenager has pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide in a 2012 high-speed crash that killed four of his friends and split his new car in two. Joseph Beer entered the plea Tuesday. He faces five to 15 years in prison, though his attorney is seeking youthful offender status because he was 17 at the time.
  • Pregnant woman says officer put her in choke hold

    Pregnant woman says officer put her in choke hold

    Tuesday, July 29 2014 1:52 PM EDT2014-07-29 17:52:29 GMT
    A Brooklyn woman who is seven months pregnant released photos that she said show an NYPD officer putting her in a choke hold as she was being arrested for grilling on the sidewalk outside her home.  It's the latest in a string of reported choke holds by police officers. The move is not allowed under NYPD policy.  Miller was expected to meet with Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson on Tuesday to seek charges against police.
    A Brooklyn woman who is seven months pregnant released photos that she said show an NYPD officer putting her in a choke hold as she was being arrested for grilling on the sidewalk outside her home.  It's the latest in a string of reported choke holds by police officers. The move is not allowed under NYPD policy.  Miller was expected to meet with Brooklyn District Attorney Ken Thompson on Tuesday to seek charges against police.
Powered by WorldNow

KDFW FOX 4
400 N. Griffin Street
Dallas, Texas 75202

Main Station Directory:
(214) 720-4444
News Fax:
(214) 720-3263 or (214) 720-3333

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices