NEW YORK — A former New York Police Department sergeant was charged Thursday with lying to cheat a fund set up to reimburse victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks
Sally Spinosa awaited an initial appearance in Manhattan federal court after her arrest on charges of submitting false claims, wire fraud and aggravated identity theft. The last charge carries a mandatory two-year prison sentence.
The 55-year-old Freehold, New Jersey, resident falsely claimed to have worked hundreds of hours from September 2001 and June 2002 in the recovery effort after the attacks, federal authorities said in a release.
They said she was a sergeant assigned to the police department's investigations unit on Staten Island in September 2001 when she claimed long hours working at the Fresh Kills Landfill there.
She falsely claimed to have worked two hours a day for 62 straight days from Sept. 20, 2001, to November 20, 2001, at the landfill even though she was pregnant and doing limited work away from offices or was on parental leave, authorities said.
Anthony DiFiore, an attorney representing Spinosa, declined comment.
Acting U.S. Attorney Audrey Strauss said in a release that Spinosa "exploited her position by brazenly – and falsely – claiming to have worked hundreds of hours in the recovery effort."
Prosecutors said Spinosa submitted an affidavit purportedly signed by one of her supervisors to support her application for reimbursement from the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, but the supervisor never signed the document.
The fund created by Congress provided money for victims of the attacks including those who suffered physical harm during debris removal or recovery efforts.
She was employed with the department from 1986 until July 2019.