MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the arrest and arraignment today of the owner of a Manhattan rug gallery charged with stealing over $22,000 in Medicaid benefits by underreporting income from his business and a rental property. This case resulted from an ongoing partnership between the DA Rice’s Public Assistance Fraud Unit and the Nassau County Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Department of Investigations.
Omid Chaman, 38, of Great Neck, was arraigned today before Nassau County District Court Judge Scott Siller and charged with Welfare Fraud in the 3rd Degree (a D felony), Grand Larceny in the 3rd Degree (a D felony) and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the 1st Degree (an E felony). If convicted of the top charge, Chaman faces up to 7 years in prison, plus restitution and fines equal to double the amount of benefits he fraudulently received. Chaman was conditionally released to probation, and is due back in court on April 4.
“Those who deceive government agencies entrusted with the proper disbursement of taxpayer-funded benefits are putting the financial future of our social safety net at risk for their own selfish ends,” DA Rice said. “These kinds of cases are a reminder that abuse of our benefit system will not be tolerated and that lawbreakers will be prosecuted by my office.”
DA Rice said Chaman, owner of Chaman Antique Rug Gallery, a business with two locations in Manhattan, falsely reported his income to DSS from April 1, 2009 to July 31, 2012. Chaman also failed to report rental income from a property he owned. During this period, Chaman and his family received $22,732 in Medicaid benefits to which they were not entitled.
Chaman was arrested today after a joint investigation by DA Rice’s Public Assistance Fraud Unit and DSS, which referred the matter to DA investigators in January 2013.
Medicaid provides public health insurance to more 5.3 million low-income individuals in New York State. It is funded jointly by federal, state, and local governments.
Assistant District Attorney Whitney Matthews of DA Rice’s Economic Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Chaman is represented by Matin Emouna, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.