NEW JERSEY MAN PREVIOUSLY CONVICTED OF DEFRAUDING SEPTEMBER 11TH COMPENSATION FUND FOUND LIABLE IN MANHATTAN FEDERAL COURT FOR OVER $3 MILLION IN CIVIL PENALTIES

United States Attorney
Southern District of New York
U.S. ATTORNEY’S OFFICE
SEPTEMBER 14, 2011 ELLEN DAVIS, CARLY SULLIVAN,

PREET BHARARA, the United States Attorney for the
Southern District of New York, announced that MARIO MASTELLONE,
who was convicted in 2008 of defrauding the September 11th Victim
Compensation Fund (“the Fund”), was found liable to the United
States for over $3 million in treble damages and civil penalties
under the False Claims Act. The decision was issued on September
12, 2011, by U.S. District Judge DENISE L. COTE.
Manhattan U.S. Attorney PREET BHARARA said: “Mario
Mastellone used the tragedy of September 11th for his own
personal gain. He will now pay for his crime with a multimillion-
dollar fine in addition to the prison time he
served. Coming just days after the 10th anniversary of that
unspeakable horror makes this result particularly gratifying.”
The Fund was established to provide financial
assistance to individuals who were physically injured or lost
their lives as a result of the terrorist attacks of September 11,
2001. In 2003, MASTELLONE submitted an application to the Fund,
stating that he had been permanently and totally disabled as a
result of injuries sustained in connection with the attacks, and
that he could no longer engage in employment as a result.
MASTELLONE subsequently was awarded $1,076,789 from the Fund.
In 2008, MASTELLONE pled guilty to fraudulently
obtaining money from the Fund, admitting that he lied on the
application about being permanently and totally disabled and
unable to perform work. He was sentenced in Manhattan federal
court on June 13, 2008 to two-and-a-half years in prison for his
fraud.
Based on the false statements he made in his
application to the Fund, the United States initiated a civil
fraud action against MASTELLONE under the False Claims Act in
2010. This ruling awards treble damages to the United States
based on the full amount awarded to MASTELLONE from the Fund.
The Court granted the Government’s request that it impose the
maximum civil penalty, holding that “Mastellone’s deception –-
defrauding a fund meant to alleviate the suffering of 9/11
victims – is sufficiently serious to warrant the maximum
penalty.”
The case is being handled by the Office’s Civil Frauds
Unit. Assistant U.S. Attorney ALICIA M. SIMMONS is in charge of
the case.
11-272 ###

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