Otari Bater allegedly claimed his family earned little to no income on Medicaid and SNAP applications; was president of two companies, leased luxury vehicle, and owned home during same period
MINEOLA, NY – Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that an East Northport man was arraigned on 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 (SNAP) benefits for his family to which they were not entitled.
Otari Bater, 49, was arraigned today before Judge Lisa Petrocelli on 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). The defendant pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. If convicted, Bater faces a potential maximum of five years to 15 years in prison. The defendant is due back in court on January 12, 2023.
“This defendant allegedly took advantage of our public benefit programs, misrepresented his employment and income status, and denied families in Nassau County the funds they truly need to survive,” said DA Donnelly. “Committing fraud against these essential programs is not a victimless crime; it has a ripple effect across our most vulnerable populations. NCDA is dedicated to prosecuting these fraud cases and weeding out the bad actors who exploit these programs.”
“DSS continues to work cooperatively with the District Attorney’s office to eliminate public welfare fraud,” said Nassau County Department of Social Services Commissioner Nancy Nunziata. “If you try and cheat the system in Nassau County, you will eventually get caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”
“Nassau County is committed to stamping out waste, fraud and abuse,” added DSS Director of Investigations John Faust. “We use a combination of sophisticated technology and traditional investigative techniques to detect and prevent fraud and we will continue our vigilance to protect the integrity of the public assistance system.”
DA Donnelly said that between January 1, 2018, and January 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).
In documentation to both NCDSS and NYSHBE applying for Medicaid and SNAP benefits, 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 NCDSS revealed that the defendant was allegedly 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 allegedly 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 allegedly never lived with relatives as documented in NCDSS paperwork.
Bater surrendered to NCDA Detective Investigators on December 27, 2022.
NCDA thanks the Nassau County Department of Social Services, Office of Investigations, for their partnership and referral of this case for prosecution.
Senior Investigative Counsel Christine Burke of the Revenue, Auto, Insurance and Labor Crime Bureau is prosecuting this case. The defendant is represented by Brian Davis, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations, and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.