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Queens Hindu Senior Center Founder Charged In Fraud Scheme

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The founder of the United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center was arrested Monday and charged with stealing more than $50,000, allegedly by filing false invoices for lunches that were never served.

Chan Jamoona, who also serves on the Queens General Assembly and on numerous boards and leadership roles in New York City, was arrested Monday morning at her Ozone Park, Queens, home.

She was charged with grand larceny in excess of $50,000, falsifying business records, and conspiracy, 1010 WINS reported.

An investigation by the city Department of Investigation and the New York State Attorney General's office found numerous fraudulent transactions involving Jamoona, 66, according to a news release.

Jamoona allegedly was involved in a scheme where fraudulent invoices from the senior center were sent to the city Department for the Aging for lunches that were never actually served to seniors at the center, the Attorney General's office release said.

Also charged were Jamoona's daughter – Veda Jamoona; and Steven Rajukumar, owner of Sonny's Roti Shop, which provided food to the senior center, the release said.

Authorities said from 2004 until 2010, Jamoona ordered a senior center employee to make false entries on the lunch sign-in sheets, and offered to put together false invoices that would result in higher payments to the Sonny's Roti Shop, the publication reported. Rajukumar agreed to split the payments with Jamoona, the release said.

Veda Jamoona also allegedly created false invoices as part of the scheme, the release said.

"By stealing from the senior center lunch program, the defendants put personal greed ahead of the basic needs of New York seniors," New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in the release. "When it comes to services vital for our seniors, we cannot accept fraud as a cost of doing business. My office will prosecute fraud in critical New York programs to the fullest extent of the law."

Chan Jamoona was highlighted in the Queens Courier in 2008 as a "Renaissance woman," sitting on the Board of Directors of the 106th Precinct council and the boards of many Hindu temples.

She founded the United Hindu Cultural Council Senior Center in 1988 in her own home, but it grew too big, the publication reported. As of 2008, Jamoona said it was the only vegetarian seni0or center in the country, and served more than 1,000 senior citizens.

Jamoona is also a registered nurse, and has supervised nursing programs at several area hospitals, according to her senior center biography.

She is shown in a photo with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in a photo on the United Hindu Cultural Council Web site.

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