Hicksville residents Michael Arbassio, 65, and Eileen Dantini, 61, were arraigned Wednesday, May 17, on charges they Allegedly submitting false documents in order to claim tens of thousands of dollars in COVID relief payments.

According to the allegations, Arbassio and Dantini lived together as tenants at their Hicksville home for 10 years, for which they paid monthly rent.

However, on September 29, 2021, Arbassio allegedly filed an application for the Oyster Bay Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP), which uses federal funds to help Oyster Bay residents facing housing insecurity related to the pandemic.

In Arbassio’s application, he allegedly listed Dantini as his landlord and claimed he owed her rent.

The pair also submitted fraudulent documents, including a sham lease agreement between the couple and an affidavit of rent arrears allegedly signed by Dantini as the landlord, the prosecutor’s office reported.

Between December 2021 and January 2022, Dantini and Arbassio received $12,800 in rental assistance funds through the program.

In April 2022, Arbassio attempted to file another ERAP filing, claiming he still owed Dantini. That sparked an investigation that found the couple’s Hicksville home was owned by another person.

Both were charged with:

  • Third Degree Grand Theft
  • False instrument for filing in the first degree (six counts)

They pleaded not guilty and were released on their own pleas.

Dantini and Arbassio will return to court on Tuesday, May 23, where they could face up to two and one-thirds to seven years in prison if convicted on the maximum charge.

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