More than 2.6 million New York property taxpayers who receive the School Tax Relief exemption will soon have to re-apply for the benefits as part of a massive state undertaking to root out fraud in the 1.9 billion dollar system. In the coming weeks, homeowners will receive a letter instructing them to reapply for the STAR program online or by phone by December 31. People will need to verify their salaries, Social Security numbers, and primary residence. The initiative, approved as part of the state budget last March, will seek to stop some property owners from claiming the tax breaks on multiple homes. An audit in March found widespread abuse of the STAR program, and the state is holping to save at least 1 million dollars a year with the new system.
State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli announced charges against 48 year old Joe Junkovic of the Bronx for allegedly engaging in a scheme to defraude the state department of health out of more than $700,000 dedicated to providing cancer screening services to low income New Yorkers. Junkovic allegedly used a non profit corporation that he controlled, Cancer Service Network, to obtain more than $25 million in federal and state funding to administer cancer screening services, and then billed the state health department for thousands of hours that he did not work. Junkovic is charged with one count of mail fraud and one count of theft of US government property.
The New York state division of criminal justice services is assisting the Cayuga County Sheriff’s office in searching for 16 year old Victoria Groom, who was reported missing from Skaneateles on August 7th. Groom is white female, 5 foot 2, 130 pounds with blonde hair and brown eyes. Anyone with information should call 1-800-346-3543
Gov. Cuomo warned parents and young people about an increase in child-identity theft. He said child victims may not know their identities had been stolen until they get older and start applying for loans or need a credit report. The problem is that a thief can use a minor’s personal information and Social Security number to open a credit-card account or take out a loan. The state Division of Consumer Protection said be aware of any suspicious mail addressed to your child. If any credit-card offers or debt collection materials contain your child’s name, contact the credit agencies. The state website on identity theft is dos.ny.gov
A helicopter will take to the sky over the next three weeks to assist NYSEG in its continuing efforts to provide safe, reliable electric service. As weather permits, NYSEG contractors will prune trees along transmission rights of way in Chenango Bridge, Morningside Heights, Hillcrest, Port Dickinson, Sanitaria Springs and Center Village/Harpursville using a special saw that hangs beneath a helicopter. Those with questions can log on to nyseg.com
State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced the indictment of John Hall, a former Engineer-in-Charge for the New York State Office of General Services who oversaw emergency service projects, for defrauding the State of more than $50,000. As alleged in the indictment, Hall approved fraudulent expense reports submitted to OGS by a contractor, in exchange for expensive construction equipment and home improvement materials for personal use. Hall is charged with sixteen felonies and was arraigned in Seneca County Court.

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