Nassau County District Attorney Anne T. Donnelly announced that a Levittown woman was arraigned recently on charges she allegedly submitted fraudulent paperwork to collect $112,000 in public assistance benefits to which she and her family were not entitled. The defendant’s husband was also arraigned for allegedly submitting fraudulent paperwork claiming he and the couple’s child resided in the North Shore School District in order to enroll the child in kindergarten, when they in fact permanently reside in Levittown.
Terry Ann Powell-Bajwa, 45, was arraigned before Judge Jaclene Agazarian on charges including Grand Larceny in the Second Degree (a C felony); Welfare Fraud in the Second Degree (a C felony); and five counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree (an E felony). The defendant pleaded not guilty and was released on her own recognizance. If convicted of the top charge, the defendant faces up to 5 to 15 years in prison.
Khurram Bajwa, 40, was arraigned before Judge Agazarian on two counts of Offering a False Instrument for Filing in the First Degree. The defendant pleaded not guilty and was released on his own recognizance. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 1-1/3 to 4 years in prison.
The Nassau County Department of Social Services (NCDSS), Office of Investigations referred the case to NCDA.
“The defendant and her husband already benefitted greatly from several lucrative government contracts awarded to their company, Tera Consulting, Inc., including a $2 million contract with Lockheed Martin, and yet, audaciously filed allegedly fraudulent paperwork, misrepresenting their wealth and family dynamics to receive public assistance benefits earmarked for vulnerable residents,” said DA Donnelly. “Khurram Bajwa also allegedly made further misrepresentations to get his child into the North Shore School District despite living in Levittown. NCDA will not tolerate brazen attempts by individuals to circumvent federal, state, or county processes for their own enrichment and at the expense of honest taxpayers.”
DA Donnelly said according to the charges, between 2017 and 2021, Powell-Bajwa allegedly submitted false information on applications and recertifications that she filed with NCDSS and the New York State Health Benefits Exchange (NYSHBE).
On applications submitted to NYSHBE and NCDSS beginning in 2016, Powell-Bajwa allegedly listed herself as single with two dependent children with an annual income of $23,600. The defendant also allegedly listed the father of her children to be absent from the household, her monthly income to be $1,750, and stated she owed a monthly mortgage payment of $2,650 that was in arrears.
The investigation revealed that Powell-Bajwa’s husband lived with the family in their Levittown home and worked as a manager at Capgemini America, Inc. in the company’s Financial Services Business Unit in New York City. Between October 2016 and February 2020, Bajwa allegedly earned approximately $266,000. Moreover, analysis of relevant financial records showed that Powell-Bajwa not only kept up with her monthly mortgage payments, but also allegedly paid off the entire mortgage debt in 2022.
Powell-Bajwa also allegedly failed to report rental income for a two-family home that Bajwa owned and rented in Howard Beach, Queens.
Because of these omissions, Powell-Bajwa and her family allegedly received $112,112 from January 1, 2017, through September 30, 2021, in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, Day Care Services, and Medicaid benefits to which they were not entitled.
Powell-Bajwa also allegedly failed to report that she was President and Chief Executive Officer of Tera Consulting, Inc. (TCI), a consulting, IT service solutions, and commodity distribution company, and held an executive position in a home improvement business that she and her husband owned. Each company had corporate bank accounts and funds from those accounts were allegedly used to pay for expenses such as the defendant’s mortgage, utilities, and personal expenses.
It was revealed through the course of the investigation that Bajwa and Powell-Bajwa permanently resided in Levittown with their daughter, and as a result, their daughter would not have been permitted to enroll in the NSSD. NSSD spent approximately $50,000 on the child’s education.
The case is being prosecuted by Senior Investigative Counsel and Attorney-in-Charge of Public Assistance Fraud Christine Burke of the Revenue, Auto, Insurance and Labor Crime Bureau. The defendants are represented by Doug Reda, Esq. The charges are merely accusations, and the defendants are presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.
—Submitted by the Nassau County District Attorney’s Office