Robert T. Bland, 41, whose most recent known address was in Highlands, N.J., allegedly filed a fraudulent application for FEMA rental assistance following Hurricane Sandy. Bland allegedly received a total of $19,385 in federal rental assistance as a result of the false application. Bland allegedly claimed that he was renting a room at the Thunderbird Motel in Seaside Heights at the time of Superstorm Sandy and was displaced as a result of the storm. Although a female friend of Bland had rented a room at the motel a short time before Sandy, she moved out approximately a week before the storm hit, and Bland allegedly never resided with her and her child at the motel. Bland submitted a letter that purported to be from the Thunderbird Motel in support of his application, vouching that he lived there, but the letter allegedly was fraudulent. The room Bland claimed he occupied at the time of the storm actually was occupied by a couple and was not the room that had been rented by his friend. Bland is charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree falsification.
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