MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that an Inwood woman was arrested for allegedly stealing more than $200,000 in welfare and housing benefits over the course of four years.
Amika Land, also known as Amika Simmons, 37, was arraigned yesterday before Judge Scott Siller on charges of:
- Welfare Fraud in the Third Degree (a D felony)
- Two counts of Grand Larceny in the Third Degree (a D felony)
- Five counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (an E felony)
The defendant was released on her own recognizance and is due back in court December 5. If convicted of the top count, she faces 2-1/3 years to seven years in prison.
“This defendant allegedly falsified documents to steal more than $200,000 in government benefits that were earmarked for struggling families,” DA Singas said. “Stealing from programs that provide a safety net for the needy victimizes our most vulnerable neighbors and the taxpaying public, and we will vigorously prosecute this case.”
DA Singas said between February 18, 2011 and August 31, 2015, the defendant received Medicaid, Day Care, Public Assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and Home Energy Assistance Program benefits totaling $180,868. During that period the defendant filed recertification forms with the Nassau County Department of Social Services (DSS) where she allegedly underreported her household income.
The defendant was employed by a medical practice in Nassau County and worked in the billing department. During the period of the alleged fraud, her yearly gross income ranged between $38,604 to a high of $76,730 - amounts which would’ve made her ineligible for benefits.
Additionally, between August 1, 2011, and July 31 2015, the defendant received Section Eight housing benefits from the Nassau County Office of Housing and Community Development (NCOHD) totaling $26,628. During that time, she is alleged to have knowingly underreported her household income by submitting the same fraudulent letters to that agency that she did to DSS.
The case came to the NCDA in July 2016 following an investigation that was started by NCOHD and DSS.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Michelle Sheehan Prior of the Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. The defendant is represented by Michael DerGarabedian, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.