For more than six years, Rivka Baror, 51, and her husband Avraham Baror, 64, fraudulently collected $108,715.57 in Medicaid and food-stamp benefits while using phony names to hide assets, including a home and several luxury automobiles, prosecutors allege.
Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes and Human Resources Administration Commissioner Robert Doar announced the indictment of the husband and wife team for their participation in the crimes, which spanned from January 1, 2006, through June 30, 2012.
According to the defendants’ welfare application forms filed under the names Avraham Baror and Rivka Baror, the couple claimed to have minimal income and no assets, which enables them to receive food-stamp and Medicaid benefits.
However, 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.
“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,” said Hynes. “Anyone who intentionally conceals information to obtain illegal benefits will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
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. Allegedly, Avraham Bachbuth is an alias used by Baror.
According to property records, Avraham Bachbuth purchased the home in April 2004 with Rivka Yedidia. Like her husband, Rivka used an alias because Yedidia is actually Rivka Baror’s maiden name.
Credit card statements showed numerous purchases at restaurants, movie theaters and stores. The investigation also uncovered Department of Motor Vehicle records for a 2006, 2007 and 2008 BMW as well as a 2007 Lexus registered to Yedidia.
Further, the indictment alleges the defendants maintained several bank accounts under the names of Rivka Yedidia and Avraham Bachbuth to which they deposited $4,400 monthly.
The couple had two safe deposit boxes at two separate banks. One contained $72,700 and €1,500. They also held jewelry and a foreign passport in Avraham Baror’s name.
“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 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.”
The situation came to light after HRA investigator Thomas Toth met Rivka Yedidia at the agency’s Manhattan office in 2010. He learned she had been coming to the office since 2009, helping individuals seeking HRA benefits fill out paperwork and prepare for interviews.
Toth became suspicious when Yedidia told him that she had paid off the mortgage on her home with the proceeds she received from a lawsuit. He suspected her knowledge of the Medicaid program was based on her own benefit receipt.
As he began to investigate, he found no records for anyone named Rivka Yedidia. He then looked up her home address and found that Rivka Baror lived there and had the same birthday as Rivka Yedidia.
Toth later confirmed that Rivka Yedidia was a food-stamp and Medicaid benefit recipient under the name of Rivka Baror using photos that showed the two individuals were the same person.
Charges against the Barors 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, the defendants could face a maximum of 15 years in prison.
The defendants are expected to be arraigned today at Kings County Supreme Court, Part 10, at 320 Jay Street.