A Dyker Heights man has been arrested and charged in connection with allegedly scamming the city’s Build it Back program, established in the wake of Superstorm Sandy to help affected homeowners restore houses badly damaged during the October, 2012 storm.
George Bonitsis, 67, who allegedly represented his Breezy Point home as his primary residence in paperwork filed with Build it Back, has been charged with grand larceny in the second degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. The first charge brings a maximum of 15 years in prison; the second charge, up to four years of imprisonment.
According to the city’s Department of Investigation, Bonitsis applied for Build it Back assistance with respect to his 190 Bedford Avenue in Breezy Point in July, 2013, and received construction repairs worth $125,802, said DOI, prior to work on the property being stopped in November, 2015, after the agency investigated and made the determination that Bonitsis’s primary residence was in Brooklyn.
DOI’s monitoring of the program, said Commissioner Mark Peters, “put the construction work and its expenditures under a microscope.” The agency’s efforts, he added, are “aimed at ensuring aid rightfully goes to families who are still trying to rebuild almost five years after the devastating storm.”
Bonitsis was arrested on Wednesday, February 15.