Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe today announced that Vanessa Sortano (DOB 01/21/47) of Haverstraw, New York has been charged with one count of Welfare Fraud in the Fifth Degree, a class “A” Misdemeanor.
Sortano is a licensed Family Home Provider, who allows needy individuals to be placed in her home, with 24-hour supervision and meals. In exchange for providing housing and care, the defendant received monthly payments from the Rockland County Department of Social Services. According to the charges, after receiving her payment for the month October, 2010, Sortano moved three handicapped residents to a location in Orange County without authorization. The move left the homeless tenants in deplorable conditions for eight days, without proper supervision and inadequate meals.
Because Sortano placed the residents outside her home for that period, she received benefits to which she was not entitled.
The arrest of the defendant resulted from an investigation conducted by the Rockland County Special Investigations Unit and the New York State Police.
Sortano was arraigned in the Village of Haverstraw Justice Court by the Honorable Ronald V. DeCaprio on July 27, 2011. She was released on her own recognizance. She is due to return to court on August 10, 2011.
The defendant faces up to one year in state prison, if convicted.
Sortano is facing charges in Orange County of Endangering the Welfare of an Incompetent or Physically Disabled Person, a class “A” Misdemeanor.