A Great Neck man who authorities said hid revenue from his Manhattan rug business and rental property was arraigned Monday on welfare-fraud charges after authorities said he stole more than $22,000 in Medicaid benefits.
Omid Chaman, 38, was arraigned in Nassau County First District Court before Judge Scott Siller on charges of third-degree welfare fraud, third-degree grand larceny and first-degree offering a false instrument for filing. He pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said Chaman falsely reported his income from his business, Chaman Antique Rug Gallery, and a rental property to the Department of Social Services from April 1, 2009, to July 31, 2012. Prosecutors said Chaman's family received $22,732 in Medicaid benefits to which they were not entitled during that period.
"Those who deceive government agencies entrusted with the proper disbursement of taxpayer-funded benefits are putting the financial future of our social safety net at risk for their own selfish ends," Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice said in a news release. "These kinds of cases are a reminder that abuse of our benefit system will not be tolerated and that lawbreakers will be prosecuted by my office."
Chaman was arrested Monday after a joint investigation by Rice's Public Assistance Fraud Unit and DSS, which referred the matter to DA investigators in January 2013. He was released under the supervision of probation and is due back in court April 4.