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Van Nuys : Man Convicted in Quake Relief Scam

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A Tarzana man was convicted Wednesday of bilking a disaster relief agency out of $3,910 by falsely claiming to have lost photography equipment stored at Northridge Meadows Apartments when it collapsed last year during the Jan. 17 earthquake.

Van Nuys Municipal Court Commissioner Kirkland Nyby ordered Frank Gomon, 53, to pay $3,910 restitution to the state Employment Development Department, said Los Angeles City Atty. James K. Hahn.

The state agency administered earthquake disaster relief funds for the Federal Emergency Management Agency after the quake.

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Gomon applied for unemployment compensation after the earthquake, saying the loss of the equipment had deprived him of his livelihood, said Deputy City Atty. Maria Perez-Manning. Gomon listed as his employer a Kelly News Service.

The EDD, she said, eventually became suspicious and began an investigation, which revealed that Kelly News Service did not exist and that Gomon had lied about working out of the Northridge Meadows Apartments, Perez-Manning said.

Gomon, who pleaded no contest, repaid the money at his arraignment June 28, she said. He also was placed on probation for one year.

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