An East Northport man was arraigned Tuesday on charges of grand larceny, welfare fraud, and other charges for allegedly underreporting his household income and resources, enabling him to receive more than $50,000 in Medicaid and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for his family to which they were not entitled.
The Nassau County District Attorney’s Ofice said that Otari Bater, 49, pleaded not guilty to charges of Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony); Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree (a C felony); and four counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (an E felony). He was released on his own recognizance.
District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly said that between Jan. 1, 2018, and Jan. 31, 2020, the defendant was allegedly overpaid benefits of approximately $58,941.65 through the Nassau County Department of Social Services (NCDSS) and through the New York State Health Benefits Exchange (NYSHBE).
Donnelly’s office said that the defendant allegedly claimed that his wife was unemployed and earned no income, that the defendant earned little to no income, and that the defendant’s family of five paid rent and lived in a home owned by the defendant’s relatives.
An investigation by Nassau County Department of Social Services found that the defendant was the president of two businesses and maintained employment as both a furniture salesperson and real estate broker during this period, and drew income from his employment. Records showed that the defendant paid personal expenses from the business accounts, including a car loan for a luxury vehicle and the mortgage for a residence in Plainview in which the defendant’s family lived.
The investigation also found that Bater and his family never lived with relatives as documented in NCDSS paperwork.
If convicted, Bater faces a potential maximum of five years to 15 years in prison. The defendant is due back in court on Jan. 12.