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Long Island CPA sentenced in fraud scheme, officials say

A Long Island certified public accountant was sentenced Tuesday to 2 years in federal prison for stealing $124,275 in Social Security, unemployment insurance and welfare benefits, even though he owned two homes at the time, state officials said.

Abraham Grossman, 78, of Yaphank, was also ordered in U.S. District Court in Central Islip to pay $615,000 in restitution, which covers a $440,000 check that he stole from a client and deposited in his bank account, according to New York State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott.

In addition, Grossman, who also went by the first name Alan, was given a year of home confinement and 3 years’ probation after pleading guilty to possession of a forged security.

His attorney, Leonard Lato of Hauppauge, said the “fair” sentence took into account his client’s kidney and heart ailments and could mean his client gets out in April with good behavior. Grossman is now at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn and must be in a prison near a hospital, the attorney said.

Lato said there was no excuse for what Grossman did and his client admitted his guilt.

Between 2012 and 2015, authorities said, Grossman used his real identity and a fake one to apply for various benefits in New York and New Jersey, getting not just money but also food stamps and aid through the Home Energy Assistance Program, or HEAP, which provides heat for those with low incomes.

While he owned a Suffolk home and a beachfront condo in Florida, Grossman obtained benefits by underreporting his earnings, obtaining a second Social Security number and a New York State driver’s license under an assumed name, and falsely reporting that he had worked at four businesses that had shut down.

The state Labor Departments of New York and New Jersey, and federal officials investigated the fraud.

“This defendant used his knowledge of accounting principles and government programs to greedily tap into and manipulate a stunning array of public assistance programs to supplement a comfortable lifestyle at taxpayer expense,” Scott said in a statement.

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