HAMMOND WOMAN SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING AMERICAN RED CROSS
CYNTHIA McGOWAN, 27, a resident of Hammond, LA, was sentenced in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Frederic Block to three (3) years probation and six months home incarceration after pleading guilty to one count of wire fraud related to fraudulent applications for financial assistance that she submitted to the American Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition, McGOWAN has been ordered to pay $7,825 in restitution to the Red Cross.
According to court documents, McGOWAN applied for and received disaster assistance funds from the American Red Cross nine (9) times. The Red Cross made disaster assistance money of up to $1565 available to those affected by the hurricanes of 2005 on a one-time only basis. McGOWAN repeatedly applied for these funds in September and October of 2005, indicating on several occasions that she had not received any money from the Red Cross.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Sharan E. Lieberman.
If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of storm victims or have knowledge of waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at: (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to: (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to: firstname.lastname@example.org