Three Louisiana residents have been sentenced in federal court on fraud charges related to a hurricane disaster relief program. Aletha Allen, 45, of Baton Rouge, La., pled guilty on Nov. 16, 2006, to count one of an indictment charging her with making a false claim for Hurricane Katrina disaster assistance benefits. Allen was sentenced today to three years probation and $2,000 in restitution.
Koieasha Jones, 27, of Greenwell Springs, La., pled guilty on Nov. 28, 2006, to count one of an indictment charging her with making a false and fraudulent claim for disaster assistance benefits. Jones was sentenced to three years probation and $2,000 in restitution.
Edward Parker, 21, of Baton Rouge, La., pled guilty on Aug. 22, 2006, to count one of an indictment charging him with making a false claim for disaster assistance benefits. Parker was sentenced today to three years probation and $4,000 in restitution.
The U.S. Secret Service, the FBI, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General conducted the investigations of these matters. Each defendant pleaded guilty before U.S. District Court Judge James J. Brady. The number of individuals who have been charged in the Middle District of Louisiana with violations related to hurricane disaster relief funds stands at 93.
In September 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force — chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division — includes the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and others.
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, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice.