Taking advantage of Ike victims?

September 26, 2008 4:06:46 AM PDT
We've gathered the latest information on a couple of men charged with stealing the identities of some Hurricane Ike victims. ROAD TO RECOVERY: How you can help | School closings | Person locator | Important phone numbers | Assistance from FEMA | Filing a claim | Latest power numbers

Victims of the storm were already having a tough time staying in shelters, but two men apparently thought they could make it even tougher.

"They used the hurricane to their advantage," said hurricane victim Daniel Warren. "It's disgusting."

Gregory Lewis, 48, and Michael Biles, 42, got into a La Porte Red Cross shelter posing as reps from RDL Energy and started handing out job applications.

"Everybody's hope was up that we were going to get some work," said Warren.

"Twelve-hundred and eighty dollars a week, demolition, debris removal," said a Red Cross volunteer who didn't want to be identified.

But when work never began, a Red Cross volunteer got suspicious and called the company headquarters and found out they were phonies and ran them off. But they went to another shelter in Pasadena and were arrested there. They still managed to get the personal information of 12 victims.

"Such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, home addresses and even in some cases, voided checks from the victims," said Donna Hawkins with the Harris County District Attorney's Office.

And now, some Red Cross shelter guests found two people who rank lower than Hurricane Ike.

"I don't think you can go any lower than that," said storm victim Larry Manning.

We spoke with the Red Cross and asked how these men were able to get access into the shelter. They say one of the men signed up as a Hurricane Ike victim. Both men have been charged with a second degree felony of unlawful possession of identifiable information and they're both being held on a $50,000 bond.

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