Brooklyn DA: KINGS COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY CHARLES J. HYNES AND NYC HUMAN RESOURCES ADMINISTRATION COMMISSIONER ROBERT DOAR ANNOUNCE THE INDICTMENT OF A HUSBAND AND WIFE WHO STOLE OVER $100,000 IN FOOD STAMPS AND MEDICAID BENEFITS OVER SIX YEARS
COUPLE USED ALIASES TO HIDE PROPERTY, JEWELRY AND LUXURY CARS
Brooklyn, July 23, 2012 – Kings County District Attorney Charles J. Hynes and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar today announced the indictment of Rivka Baror, 51, and her husband Avraham Baror, 64, for fraudulently collecting $108,715.57 in Medicaid and food-stamp benefits, from January 1, 2006 through June 30, 2012.
Charges against Mr. and Mrs. Baror include Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree, Grand Larceny in the Second Degree, and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. If convicted of the top count, the defendants face a maximum of 15 years in prison.
According to the defendants’ welfare application forms filed under the names Avraham Baror and Rivka Baror, during this period, the couple had minimal income and no assets, making them eligible to receive Medicaid and food-stamp benefits. Investigators from HRA and the District Attorney’s office uncovered documents showing the defendants used aliases to maintain bank accounts and purchase property, cars, and vacations.
District Attorney Hynes said, “These defendants carried out an elaborate scheme using aliases to buy property, travel, and live the high life for years, while stealing benefits designed to help truly needy and deserving individuals. Anyone who intentionally conceals information to obtain illegal benefits will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I would like to thank Commissioner Doar and HRA for their assistance in this investigation.”
According to the indictment, the couple claimed that they rented their home at 1349 East 2nd Street in Brooklyn from the landlord, Avraham Bachbuth for $1,100 a month. Avraham Bachbuth was the alleged alias used by Avraham Baror. According to property documents, Avraham Bachbuth purchased the property in April 2004, along with Rivka Yedidia. Yedidia is Mrs. Baror’s maiden name. Like her husband, Mrs. Baror allegedly used the name as an alias.
The indictment also alleges the defendants had several bank accounts under the names of Rivka Yedidia and Avraham Bachbuth and made average monthly cash deposits of $4,400. The couple had two safe deposit boxes at two separate banks. One contained $72,700 and €1,500. The other had jewelry and a foreign passport in Avraham Baror’s name.
Credit card account statements showed purchases at restaurants, movie theaters and stores including The Home Depot, Ikea and Victoria’s Secret. The investigation also uncovered NYS Department of Motor Vehicle records for a 2006, 2007 and 2008 BMW as well as a 2007 Lexus registered to Rivka Yedidia.
“This case is an egregious example of individuals who abuse New York City’s public benefit programs. It also represents a good instance in which our Finger Imaging System photos helped us weed out Food Stamp fraud,” said HRA Commissioner Robert Doar. “Every fraudulent dollar spent in this case, was a dollar taken away from New Yorkers truly in need of Food Stamps and Medicaid and it will not be tolerated. I would like to thank District Attorney Hynes and his team for their continuing support in the fight against public benefit fraud.”
HRA investigator Thomas Toth said he uncovered the couple’s fraud after he met Rivka Yedidia at the agency’s Manhattan office in 2010. He learned she had been coming to the office since 2009, working on behalf of individuals seeking HRA benefits. Yedidia would help them with paperwork, interviews and eligibility issues. After they met, Toth said Yedidia told him that she had paid off the mortgage on her home with the proceeds she received from a lawsuit.
Toth suspected Rivka Yedidia’s knowledge of the Medicaid program could be based on her own receipt of benefits. Toth found no records for welfare benefit recipients named Rivka Yedidia. A subsequent search of the records using the home address that Yedidia had given him revealed that an individual by the name of Rivka Baror lived there and had the same date of birth as Rivka Yedidia. Investigator Toth confirmed that Rivka Yedidia was a food-stamp and Medicaid benefit recipient under the name of Rivka Baror. Photos confirmed that the two individuals were in fact the same person.
The defendants are expected to be arraigned today at Kings County Supreme Court, Part 10, at 320 Jay Street.
An indictment is an accusatory instrument and not proof of a defendant’s guilt.
The case was investigated by Investigator Thomas Toth, of the Human Resources Administration Bureau of Fraud Investigations, Supervising Detective Investigator Clyde Augustine, and Detective Investigator Efrain Alvarado, both from the District Attorney’s Office.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Joel Greenwald of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit. Lauren Mack is the Chief of the Public Assistance Crimes Unit.
Contact: Mia Goldberg