Middletown Woman Charged With Defrauding Sandy Aid Program

Colleen Bowers is accused of collecting nearly $12,000 for a property she leased to tenants.

A Middletown woman was charged with defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)  of nearly $12,000 in disaster assistance, announced Acting Monmouth County Prosecutor Christopher J. Gramiccioni on Wednesday.

Colleen Bowers, 32, of Middletown, was arrested on a theft by deception for allegedly applying for FEMA Disaster Assistance money by identifying a property she owns and leased to tenants as her primary residence.

An investigation by the Monmouth County Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force led by the Monmouth County Prosecutor's Office and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security determined that just days after Superstorm Sandy made landfall in Monmouth County, Bowers registered with FEMA and made application for disaster assistance for damage to her property at 17 Griggs Ave., in the Port Monmouth section of Middletown, according to Gramiccioni.

In the application Bowers specifically identified the property as her primary residence, but at no time did she live at that location with her tenants, according to prosecutors. Bowers was awarded about $11,839 for disaster assistance. Bowers' actions came to light when the tenants of the property registered and applied for FEMA disaster assistance in the aftermath of the storm only to be denied because the landlord had already filed an application.

Bowers was served with the complaint filed against her. She remains free with no bail set pending a future court date.

If convicted of theft by deception, Bowers faces a sentence of up to five years in prison. 

The Monmouth County Superstorm Sandy Fraud Task Force continues to process and investigate complaints related to the storm. Homeowners or citizens are urged to report complaints at www.SandyFraud.com or by calling (855) SANDY 39.   


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