Lee Zeldin and his wife Diana.

Lee Zeldin and his wife Diana. Credit: Newsday/Thomas A. Ferrara

For more than a year, former House member and GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin has been hounded on social media with accusations that a fraudulent Paycheck Protection Program loan taken out in his wife’s maiden name actually did benefit the Zeldins.

The loan, for $20,208, was taken out under the name of Diana Gadish, and used the family’s address and her personal information, including address and date of birth.

In December 2021, Diana Zeldin filed a police report with the Suffolk County Police Department on the identity theft, and Lee Zeldin says the couple also reported the fraud to the Small Business Administration. The loan had been approved on April 18 of that year.

But he hadn’t heard anything since, and he said he rarely even was aware of the political opponents trying to make hay with the issue by constantly retweeting stories and accusations related to it.

The letter from the Suffolk district attorney's office saying Lee...

The letter from the Suffolk district attorney's office saying Lee Zeldin's wife, Diana, was a victim of identity fraud.

Now Zeldin shared with The Point a letter from the Suffolk County District Attorney’s office that included ample proof that the money was stolen and concluded:

“A thorough investigation into this report has confirmed that Mrs. Zeldin is the victim of a theft of her personal identification information in order to apply for and receive the PPP loan from Harvest Small Business Finance. There is no evidence that Mrs. Zeldin received any money in relation to this loan, nor did she provide any permission or authorization for anyone to use her personal identification information to obtain a PPP loan.”

The letter was signed by Assistant District Attorney Jessica Lighthouse, of the DA’s Financial Crimes Bureau.

Evidence the letter cited included records from Charter Communications, T-Mobile, and Horizon that showed multiple IP addresses outside the state being used to deal with the loan applications, distribution of the money via a Green Dot debit card that does not require a bank account, and a complete lack of any connection to the Zeldins. According to the letter, the one IP address that was identified as “local” was traced to a Brooklyn apartment building “where the origin of that electronic communication is unclear.”

As for any impact on their lives, Lee Zeldin told The Point Monday that aside from having to fill out the police and SBA reports, they had not really been impacted. The couple has not been the victim of any further theft, nor have they received any information on who might have committed the theft.

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