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Brooklyn Officials: Sandy Victims Should Refile Flood Claims After Firms Accused Of Fraud

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- It's been nearly 2 1/2 years since Superstorm Sandy hit, and victims of the storm are getting battered again.

This time by engineering firms used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that filed fraudulent reports, Brooklyn officials said Sunday.

Elected officials on Sunday urged residents who were underpaid or denied reimbursements to resubmit their flood insurance claims following multiple allegations of fraud by the firms, WCBS 880's Monica Miller reported.

The state attorney general has launched an investigation.

"Don't go by the previous statements from FEMA and the insurance companies," Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said Sunday in Gerritsen Beach. "We don't want people to believe that the tide of water has passed us so the controversy has also passed us. No it has not."

Brooklyn Officials: Sandy Victims Should Refile Flood Claims After Allegations Of Fraud By Firms

"Our original report said 100 percent damage from Hurricane Sandy" Vince Carrozza told CBS2's Steve Langford.

Carrozza said the engineering report on his flood-ravaged home in Gerritsen Beach apparently got lost in translation.

He said by the time he heard back from his insurance company, "We were told by our insurance company that it was not significant for a claim."

So despite having flood insurance and an engineer's report citing a total loss due to flooding, Carrozza has been stuck paying out $250,000 to have his home rebuilt, he said.

And he's not alone.

"They're trying to make it seem like it was from soil erosion and had nothing to do with the storm," said Marilyn Wellisch, of Long Beach.

Adams and City Councilman Mark Treyger (D-Brooklyn) want a special monitor to be established by the attorney general to review every single case.

"To suggest that a flood did not occur, to suggest that they don't deserve the monies that they're rightfully owed at a time when they're the most vulnerable, it is shameful, and it is irresponsible," Treyger said.

Attorney Mitchell Shpelfogel, who represents families in a class action lawsuit, said his team called attention to the altered reports more than a year ago.

"We contacted FEMA," he said. "We sent them a copy of the fraudulent report and the real report and told them this is happening, and they did nothing."

The Insurance Information Institute denies any wrongdoing, saying "Insurers have no financial incentive to underpay these claims. All...flood losses are ultimately paid by the National Flood Insurance Program."

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