News and Press Releases

Birmingham Woman Sentenced to Two Years in Prison for False Statement to FEMA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 23, 2012

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Birmingham woman to two years in prison for a false statement she made to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an attempt to gain disaster benefits after the April 27 tornadoes, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge James E. Ward, and FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley.

Chief U.S. District Judge Sharon Lovelace Blackburn sentenced LIBRA NIKOSHA GREEN, 32, for falsely telling a FEMA representative on May 2 that she had lost her home, her father and her infant daughter in the tornadoes. Green pleaded guilty in October to one count of making a false statement to the government. In a plea agreement with the government, Green acknowledged that she attempted to get disaster benefits by telephoning FEMA and claiming that she lived in a house on Cherry Avenue in Birmingham that was destroyed by a tornado and that the tornado killed her father and daughter. Green did not live in the Cherry Avenue house, her father had died about two months before the storm, and the tornado did not kill her daughter, according to the plea agreement.

“This defendant made false and outrageous claims in an attempt to parlay the community’s devastation and distress into a financial windfall for herself,” Vance said. “My office will continue to prosecute cases of fraud related to disaster benefits. We want to deter fraud and punish the people willing to commit crimes in order to take money intended to help tornado survivors,” she said.

The public can report fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations through the National Disaster Fraud Hotline, toll free, at 1-866-720-5721, or by e-mailing disaster@leo.gov. The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The FBI and DHS-OIG investigated the case. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama is prosecuting the case.

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