Amika Land, also known as Amika Simmons, was arrested on Oct. 30, the Inwood resident allegedly stole more than $200,000 in welfare and housing benefits between Feb. 18, 2011 and Aug. 31, 2015, according to the Nassau County District Attorney’s office.
Land, 37, was charged with welfare fraud third-degree, two counts of grand larceny third-degree, five counts of offering a false instrument for filing first-degree. After her arraignment on that Monday, she was released on her own recognizance. Her next court date is Dec. 5. If convicted of the top count, she could be sentenced up to seven years in prison.
According to District Attorney Madeline Singas, Land received Medicaid, day care, public assistance, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and Home Energy Assistance Program benefits totaling $180,868. During the four-year period, she filed recertification forms with the Nassau County Department of Social Services and allegedly underreported her household income.
Employed by a medical practice in Nassau County, Land worked in the billing department. During the four years, her annual gross income ranged between $38,604 to a high of $76,730 — amounts that would have made her ineligible for benefits.
“This defendant allegedly falsified documents to steal more than $200,000 in government benefits that were earmarked for struggling families,” Singas said in a news release. “Stealing from programs that provide a safety net for the needy victimizes our most vulnerable neighbors and the taxpaying public, and we will vigorously prosecute this case.”
Additionally, between Aug. 1, 2011, and July 31 2015, Land received 26,628 in Section Eight housing benefits from the county’s Office of Housing and Community Development. During that time, she is alleged to have knowingly underreported her household income by submitting the same fraudulent letters to that agency that she did to DSS.