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7 charged with stealing Medicaid benefits, food stamps

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice speaks at

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice speaks at a press conference to announce the launch of The Veterans Project. (July 7, 2009) Photo Credit: Newsday/Photo by Charles Eckert

Seven Long Islanders stole Medicaid benefits and food stamps by underreporting their incomes and failing to disclose millions worth of rental properties and businesses, the Nassau district attorney's office said Friday.

"They greedily took advantage of a system designed to help those who are truly in need," said District Attorney Kathleen Rice.

Homa and Masoud Lovi, 50, of Roslyn Heights, were charged with second-degree grand larceny, second-degree welfare fraud and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. The Lovis stole $88,932 in Medicaid benefits for themselves and their three children, Rice said in a news release. Masoud Lovi earned between $2,000 and $2,500 a month working at Studio 2180, a clothing company based in the Bronx, which he owns, along with three properties in Queens, the release said. The couple's bank records revealed more than $2.3 million of deposits during the duration of the case.

The deposits "doesn't show withdrawals and what creditors they go to," said their attorney Matin Emouna of Mineola.

Arely Sharifian, 37 and Shahron Solemani Sharifian, 39, of Hicksville, were charged with the same crimes as the Lovis, after receiving more than $53,000 in Medicaid benefits they did not qualify for, the release said.

Their attorney, Robert McDonald of Mineola, said the majority of evidence against them came voluntarily from the Sharifians.

"I'm not saying this is a justification," McDonald said. "If they weren't entitled . . . they should give the funds back voluntarily, absolutely."

Shmuel Cohen, 46 and Cheryl Cohen, 52, of Plainview were charged with third-degree welfare fraud, third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. They received more than $28,000 in Medicaid benefits and more than $2,000 in food stamps, but did not report Cheryl Cohen's income at the North Shore Synagogue and ownership of two jewelry businesses, prosecutors said. The Cohens' attorney, Robert Lucks, declined to comment.

Marouza Parveen, 40, of Elmont, was charged with third-degree grand larceny, third-degree welfare fraud and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. She received $48,855 in Medicaid benefits, while claiming her husband earned $325 a week by working at a bagel store. In reality, she and her husband own the bagel store, prosecutors said. She could not be reached Friday.

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