N.Y. Grand Jury Indicts Man Accused of Defrauding 9/11 Fund; Claimed Company Was ‘Destroyed’ by the Attacks

December 14, 2004

Nassau County (New York) District Attorney Denis Dillon announced recently that a Grand Jury has indicted Nehemiah Rolle, 49, currently incarcerated on unrelated charges, for allegedly defrauding a 9/11 fund.

“Safe Horizons Inc. is a Manhattan-based not-for-profit social services agency that administered the distribution of monies from the 9/11 fund,” Dillon said. “Rolle has been accused by our office of intentionally defrauding Safe Horizons of approximately $4,000 by claiming he worked for a company called Gibbs & Hill Engineering, that he says was based in the World Trade Center at the time of the attack. He claimed that the company was ‘destroyed’ by the attacks.

“During the course of an unrelated criminal proceeding pending before Nassau County Court Judge Meryl Berkowitz, Rolle submitted documentation to Nassau County Court Clerk’s Office alleging that Rolle had been employed as a paralegal, by Gibbs & Hill, a purported engineering firm operating out of 1 World Trade Center, as of October 15 of either 1995 or 1999 (he listed differently in two locations) until September 11, 2001,” said Dillon. “The paperwork submitted to the Clerk’s Office indicated that Rolle had received compensation from Safe Horizons Inc. on April 6, 2002, in the amount of $1,500 and on April 10, 2002, in the amount of $2,500. After reviewing the documentation, Judge Berkowitz referred the documents to this office.”

According to Dillon, following further investigation the office concluded that Rolle was incarcerated for a significant amount of the time between Sept. 20, 1996 and Sept. 11, 2001. “In fact on March 12, 2001 Rolle was arrested on an outstanding bench warrant,” Dillon said. “He was arrested and processed by a Freeport Police Officer at which time he claimed he was a paralegal at Nassau Community College (NCC) and made no mention of his position with Gibbs & Hill. NCC records indicate that Rolle was employed as a custodian there until 1993, when he had been terminated and that Rolle had never worked at NCC in the capacity of a paralegal, or anything else other than a custodian.”

To date, Dillon’s office has not been able to find proof supporting the existence of Gibbs &Hill Engineering, let alone having an office located in 1 World Trade Center. Rolle has been charged with Grand Larceny in the Third Degree, Falsifying Business Records in the First Degree, a Class D Felony; and Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree a Class E Felony.

Rolle was arraigned on these charges on Nov. 29, 2004 in front of Nassau County Court Judge Frank Gulotta. Bail was set at $15,000 and his next court appearance on this matter is scheduled for Dec. 22, 2004.

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