Westerly man faces up to 25 years for false aid claims

WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI/AP) — A Westerly man pleaded guilty to stealing thousands of dollars in federal disaster aid, disability benefits, and food stamps.

Donald Gingerella, 53, admitted to the court that he collected over $82,000 in public assistance payments based on false claims made to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training, the Social Security Administration, and the SNAP program.

The office of U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha says the false claims included flood damage to a nonexistent business he reported was under six feet of water, disaster unemployment tied to Superstorm Sandy and receiving food stamps to which he was not entitled.

Gingerella pleaded guilty to two counts of theft of government property and one count of Social Security fraud.

He faces up to 25 years in federal prison when he is sentenced in December.


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