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Brookhaven councilman warns residents about a waste ‘scam’

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico said he warned

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico said he warned residents on May 18, 2017, of a scam involving payments for waste management violations. Photo Credit: James Carbone

Brookhaven Town Councilman Dan Panico is warning residents in his district of a scam that involves payment for waste management violations.

Reports of fake letters notifying residents they owe $58 to a company called Real Community Matters for a first offense waste management violation surfaced Wednesday.

“It’s all over my district,” Panico said in an interview Thursday. “Senior citizens who aren’t on social media are most susceptible.”

According to the letter, fines for the violation range from $58 to $1,000 based on the number of violations. The violation is for improper disposal of garbage. The letter asks homeowners to send the payment to RCM, 2188 Nesconset Hwy., suite 259 in Stony Brook.

That address is actually home to a UPS shipping store. Panico said there have been no reports of residents making the payment.

“Preying on people with a scam like this is shameful,” said Jim Gleason, vice-president of the East Moriches Property Owners Association. “Hopefully, the postal inspector will catch the perpetrators and put a stop to this.”

Brookhaven Town’s own investigators and the town’s law department are investigating, town officials said.

The letters were sent to residents in Center Moriches, East Moriches, Moriches, Manorville, Mastic, Shirley and Mastic Beach, all southeastern Brookhaven hamlets.

Panico said actual waste management violations would come on official town letterhead with an address and phone number.

“It’s a clear scam,” Panico said.

Town Supervisor Edward Romaine said the letter looks authentic and he fears a mass mailing to the rest of the town.

“We are going to shut this scam down,” he said, adding the town had contacted the Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office.

“Whatever you do, don’t pay the bill, Romaine said.

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