On September 8, 2005, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales established the Katrina Fraud Task Force to deter, detect, and prosecute instances of fraud related to the Hurricane Katrina disaster. It it one year later and still victims are suffering. Sadly, many people use people's misfortune in life for their own monetary gain.
The following stories, (recently dated) show the scope of this tragedy. How so many people have found this a profitable way to obtain funds but material possesions as well.
When will the madness stop.
JAMAR ANDERSON, age 32, of Gretna, Louisiana, was
arrested by federal agents yesterday on charges of conspiracy and theft of government
property, United States Attorney David R. Dugas announced. A criminal complaint was
signed this afternoon by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Stephen C. Riedlinger.
The complaint alleges that ANDERSON was an employee of the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA).
ANDERSON allegedly worked at the staging area of a
FEMA storage site in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and had access to the site and travel trailers
with crated air conditioning units that were stored there. The complaint alleges that
ANDERSON was involved in a scheme involving the unauthorized taking of air conditioning
units from the FEMA storage site. ANDERSON is the fourth individual arrested in this
matter. Three others, BYRON BASIL, BYRON HARDESTY, and LEROY THOMAS, JR.,
were arrested yesterday on related charges.
NOTE: A complaint is merely an accusation by a law enforcement official, and the
defendant is presumed innocent until and unless proven guilty at trial.
Tina Marie Winston, a.k.a. Tina Marie Gilmore, 34, of
Belleville, Ill., today entered a plea of guilty to four counts of mail fraud, three counts of making
false statements, two counts of concealment of material information from the Social Security
Administration, and single counts of misuse of a Social Security number and aggravated identity
theft, announced Acting United States Attorney Randy G. Massey of the Southern District of
Illinois. The convictions related to Winston’s commission of Hurricane Katrina fraud and other
public benefit frauds.
At the time of her plea, Winston admitted that in September 2005, she filed an Internet
application for Hurricane Katrina disaster assistance using a false Social Security number.
Winston falsely represented to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that her
home in New Orleans was damaged, that she suffered loss of personal property, that she had lost two children in the disaster, and that she needed money to pay for the memorial service.
FEMA sent Winston $4,358 as a result of the scheme, though Winston had asked FEMA
for additional compensation for losses which she did not sustain, including personal property loss
in the amount of $10,075 and dental expenses in the amount of $2,530.
In October 2005, Winston applied for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA), a
program funded by FEMA. In her application, Winston falsely stated that Hurricane Katrina had caused her to lose her job. She falsely stated that she had no other financial resources and that she was not receiving Social Security benefits. Winston’s application was approved and she was sent an electronic debit card, which she used to obtain $1,321 worth of purchases. FEMA cut the card off when Winston exceeded the spending limit.
Winston also admitted to defrauding the Social Security Administration from May 1994
until June 2006, by failing to report her marriage and income, resulting in an overpayment in
excess of $13,000. Additionally, Winston admitted to lying on an application for food stamps and
Medicaid filed in July 2004 by failing to disclose her marriage, resulting in an overpayment of
almost $5,000 and to making false statements in an attempt to obtain Section 8 housing valued at $6,758 by falsely identifying her husband as her cousin and lying about their income.
Sentencing is scheduled for Jan. 12, 2007. Winston has been held without bond since her
arrest on June 22, 2006.
For more horror stories see: http://www.usdoj.gov/katrina/Katrina_Fraud/index.html