Susan-Avellini 042016 James-Avellini 042016A Red Bank couple was charged with criminal fraud in connection with federal relief funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy in 2012, the New Jersey Attorney General’s office announced Wednesday.

James Avellini, 67, and Susan Horty-Avellini, 65, seen at right, were among seven defendants charged with filing fraudulent applications for relief monies, the state alleged.

The Avellinis were each charged with fraudulently obtaining a total of $49,969 by filing false applications for FEMA assistance and state grants under the Homeowner Resettlement Program (RSP) and the Sandy Homeowner and Renter Assistance Program (SHRAP) funded by the New Jersey Department of Human Services, the state said in a prepared statement.

The state alleged that the married couple falsely claimed in the applications that a storm-damaged property they owned in Lavallette was their primary residence when Sandy hit. The state claims their primary residence was in Red Bank, and that the property in Lavallette was a seasonal home.

The couple received a $24,992 FEMA grant, a $10,000 RSP grant, and $14,977 in SHRAP funding.

Ocean County records show that tax bills for the the Lavalette home, on Norman Court, are sent to 227 River Road in Red Bank. Monmouth County records show the Red Bank property is deeded to Jami and Jenine Avellini.

The River Road home was the scene of a Christmas-tree fire on New Year’s Day, 2012, as reported by redbankgreen.

Avellini and Horty-Avellini were charged with third-degree theft by deception and fourth-degree unsworn falsification.

Since March 2014, the state has filed criminal charges against 57 people for allegedly engaging in Sandy-related fraud, including the seven individuals charged Wednesday.