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Kew Gds. Hills woman scammed charities: DA

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Angela Hernandez, 35, of 80-14 150th St., is accused of pretending to be a tenant suffering from leukemia who needed help paying rent on a Parkway Village apartment that she actually owned, the DA said.Over a six-month span several charities bought into her claim, including Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and the city's Social Services Department, according the DA."The defendant is alleged to have stolen over $7,000 by falsely claiming to be a sick and needy tenant," Brown said.Hernandez was charged with larceny, forgery and welfare fraud and faces up to seven years in prison if convicted.The DA said that in July Hernandez forged two letters from physicians that confirmed she had cancer as well as lease documents on her two-bedroom apartment, which in reality she had purchased in 1998 for nearly $80,000 and had just recently refurbished the kitchen.Hernandez apparently used the U.S. mail to carry out her scheme, which alerted postal inspectors, police said. "Many New Yorkers rely on compassion and generosity of these charities," said Robin Dalgleish of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service. "Defrauding them and as a result depriving those who are truly in need of their help was a devious act."Catholic Charities spokeswoman Margaret Keaveney said she was shocked to learn of the charges against Hernandez, whom the charity's Queens South Family Center had given $886 in subsidies."We have thousands of people come into the center with legitimate needs and legitimate fears," she said. "To take advantage of our services is disappointing and makes it harder for us to raise money in the future."Lenore Neier, of the Community Service Society of New York, was equally taken back when the DA told her Hernandez had allegedly ripped off the charity of $1,732. But she did not believe the incident would cause charities to become more suspicious of people."When something like this happens, it's a risk we take, and in the end, given the number of honest people we help overall. it's worth it," she said.The DA said Hernandez also applied for financial aid from The New York Times Cases Fund in the summer but had not received any money.Reach reporter Zach Patberg by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 155.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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