MINEOLA, N.Y. – A New York engineering firm that was hired by insurance companies to evaluate damage caused by Superstorm Sandy faces charges that it illegally altered reports prepared by inspectors in the field.
An indictment unsealed Monday charges HiRise Engineering and one of the company's project managers, Matthew Pappalardo, with felony fraud. Pappalardo also faces charges of practicing engineering without a license.
He and the company have denied wrongdoing. They pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in Nassau County.
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman (SHNEYE'-dur-muhn) says the alterations of engineering reports by someone who wasn't even an engineer undermined the integrity of the federal flood insurance program.
Previously filed civil lawsuits have argued that in some cases, the alterations led to homeowners getting less insurance money than they deserved.