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L.I. Contractor Pleads Guilty To Superstorm Sandy Fraud

Michael Balsamo
Matthew Pappalardo, a project manager for HiRise Engineering, leaves the Nassau County Court in Mineola, N.Y., following his arraignment in August.

The former director of a Long Island-based engineering firm pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally altering Superstorm Sandy damage reports.

Matthew Pappalardo of HiRise Engineering in Uniondale assessed properties covered under the National Flood Insurance Program.

Prosecutors said Pappalardo and his employees altered reports that changed conclusions about the extent or cause of damage. In fact, the firm did not inspect the damaged buildings and was not licensed to practice engineering in New York.

Federal flood claim administrators and adjusting firms relied on those altered reports to evaluate coverage.

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman also released a report that identified inadequate training and lack of certification requirements for engineers connected to flood claims as a fundamental flaw in the National Flood Insurance Program.

Pappalardo is expected to be sentenced in March to three years of probation and a $10,000 fine.

HiRise Engineering has been barred permanently from the National Flood Insurance Program.

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