Superstorm Sandy fraud investigation

A local engineering firm is accused of cheating Superstorm Sandy victims out of insurance money.

Matthew Pappalardo did not talk to reporters as he left the Nassau County Criminal Courthouse in Mineola, Long Island, Monday. He pleaded not guilty to fraud, forgery, and practicing engineering without a license.

He was a project manager at Hi-Rise Engineering, a firm hired by insurance companies to evaluate damage caused by superstorm sandy.

Avrahan Moskowitz, Pappalardo's lawyer, said his client is innocent and did not defraud anyone.

The New York attorney general also names Hi-Rise Engineering in a 50-count criminal indictment. Defense lawyer Kenneth Murphy said there was never any intent to defraud any homeowners.

Investigators said home damage inspection reports were illegally changed to make it look like the structural damage to a home was not caused by Sandy. It meant homeowners could not get much-needed FEMA money for repairs.