Woman faked address to get FEMA money

February 11, 2009 11:05:16 AM PST
A woman has pled guilty to a case of fraud that allowed her to get more than $30,000 from FEMA that she didn't deserve.[SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Linda L. Johnson, 27, of New Orleans, LA, has pleaded guilty to making false statements to obtain FEMA disaster assistance benefits following Hurricane Katrina, acting United States Attorney Tim Johnson announced.

Johnson pleaded guilty at a hearing on Feb. 10, 2009, before United States District Judge Nancy Atlas. Sentencing has been set for April 27, 2009.

Johnson altered an Entergy utility bill as proof she resided at a residence on Metropolitan Street in New Orleans, the address she listed as her primary residence in her claim for Hurricane Katrina disaster assistance, when in fact she did not either own nor reside at the residence. The original bill was addressed to another person for service at a different address on Metropolitan Street. Johnson altered the original bill to insert her name and the numerical address of another residence on Metropolitan street. The false statement enabled Johnson to receive a total of $30,435 in FEMA disaster assistance for approximately two years beginning in October 2005.

A total of 89 individuals have been charged in the Southern District of Texas with fraud relating to Hurricane Katrina or Hurricane Rita. Of the 77 defendants sentenced thus far for Hurricane Katrina fraud, 43 have received terms of imprisonment.

Anyone suspecting criminal activity involving disaster assistance programs can make an anonymous report by calling the toll-free Hurricane Relief Fraud Hotline, 1-866-720-5721 or contacting the Disaster Fraud Fax at 1-225-334-4707 or the Disaster Fraud e-mail at disaster@leo.gov, 24 hours a day, seven days a week until further notice. Information can also be e-mailed to the inspector general at dhsoighotline@dhs.gov or sent by surface mail, with as many details as possible, to:

National Center for Disaster Fraud
Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909

or

Department of Homeland Security
Washington, DC, 20528
Attn: Office of Inspector General, Hotline.

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