New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice Arrests Man for Reportedly Illegally Collecting 9/11 Benefit Funds

November 1, 2004

New Jersey Attorney General Peter Harvey announced that the Division of Criminal Justice – Financial Crimes Bureau has arrested a Hudson County man for fraudulently collecting more than $25,200 earmarked for 9/11 relief programs and using the money for his own personal expenses, including rent, TV cable, food vouchers, and other items.

According to Vaughn McKoy, director, Division of Criminal Justice, the Financial Crimes Bureau obtained an Oct. 14 State Grand Jury indictment charging Hugh A. Shirley, Jr., 32, of Jersey City, Hudson County, with theft by deception (3rd degree). Shirley was arrested by the Division of Criminal Justice and brought before Hudson County Superior Court Judge Peter Vasquez, who set bail at $20,000. Shirley was subsequently remanded to the Hudson County Jail. If convicted, Shirley faces up to five years in state prison and a fine of up to $15,000.

The indictment alleges that Shirley was employed by Leafstone Staffing Services, a temporary employment agency in New York, from November 1998 until April 2002. Leafstone Staffing is a temporary employment agency. The agency placed Shirley with Deutsche Bank, Liberty Street, New York, in March 2000. Shirley was terminated from his employment at both Leafstone and Deutsche Bank in April 2002.

Reportedly, Shirley subsequently submitted an application to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for financial assistance claiming that he became unemployed due to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the World Trade Center.

The indictment charges that from April 2002 to September 2003, FEMA paid Shirley more than $16,288 as compensation for his 9/11 hardship. In January 2003, Shirley reportedly used fraudulent Deutsche Bank letterhead to make a similar claim to NJ Unmet Needs – a victim charity resource that distributed assistance to 9/11 victims. Organizations such as New Jersey Interfaith Partnership for Disaster Relief , the United Methodist Church, and Catholic Community Services, located in Newark, all of whom are included in NJ Unmet Needs, provided the defendant with more than $5,300.

The Division of Criminal Justice – Financial Crimes Bureau investigation revealed that Shirley was not unemployed from Deutsche Bank as a result of the 9/11 attacks, but was actually terminated by Leafstone Staffing Services as a result of reportedly altering/forging time sheets which resulted in unauthorized payments of more than $44,100.

The investigation determined Shirley used the monies provided by the charities to pay for such things as rent, car payments, and credit card bills.

Additionally, the various charities made checks payable directly to Shirley creditors, including: rent, car insurance, food vouchers to Pathmark, Verizon, Verizon Wireless, and Comcast CableVision.

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