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December 04, 2015

Two N.J. couples indicted in Medicaid, food stamp fraud

Ocean County prosecutors say couples received hundreds of thousands of dollars by underreporting income

Two couples from Ocean County, New Jersey, were indicted this week on charges of underreporting their income in order to obtain hundreds of thousands of dollars in public assistance, prosecutors announced.

On Thursday, Peter and Lisa Cerruto, of Barnegat, were charged with theft by deception, Medicaid fraud, tampering with government records, filing fraudulent tax returns, and failing to pay a tax associated with their their application to New Jersey Family Care, reports.

In total, detectives determined that the Cerrutos illegally received about $69,000 from the state of New Jersey between February 2010 and July 2013 as a result of underreported earnings. The couple faces up to five years in prison if they are convicted on any of the related charges.

Separately, in Lakewood, 43-year-old Yosaf Laskin and his wife, 41-year-old Gila Neger, allegedly underreported their income in order to qualify for Medicaid and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, prosecutors said.

Laskin allegedly provided false information on his Medicaid application in order to recieve $148,000 in unearned benefits between November 2010 and July 2013. Negar allegedly filed a false application for food stamps to receive $8,000 in benefits she was not entitled to during the same period.

Laskin has been charged with theft by deception, Medicaid fraud and tampering with government records, while Negar faces charges of theft by deception and tampering with government records. Both were previously charged with filing fraudulent tax returns in 2010 and 2011.

If convicted of theft by deception, Laskin faces up to 10 years in prison. Given the difference in money, Negar faces up to five years in prison if convicted.