News and Press Releases

Tuscaloosa Woman Sentenced for Falsely Claiming Disaster Benefits

February 12, 2013

BIRMINGHAM – A federal judge today sentenced a Tuscaloosa woman to eight months home detention as part of 16 months’ probation for fraudulently claiming disaster benefits following the April 27, 2011, tornadoes that struck Tuscaloosa, Birmingham, and other parts of the state, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance and James E. Ward, special agent in charge, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General.
GLORIA L. MCCOY, 32, pleaded guilty in November to falsely stating to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an application for disaster benefits that she rented an apartment in Tuscaloosa that was damaged by the storm. Based on her representation to FEMA, the agency paid her $9,161 in disaster-relief benefits. U.S. District Judge Virginia Emerson Hopkins ordered McCoy to pay that amount to FEMA in restitution.
DHS-OIG investigated the case, which was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.

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 The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.





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