HAMMOND MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING AMERICAN RED CROSS
MARQUES HARRISON, age 29, a resident of Hammond, Louisiana, pled guilty today in federal court before U. S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt to a one-count indictment for wire fraud relating to fraudulent applications he made to the American Red Cross for financial assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, the American Red Cross made disaster assistance money of up to $1,565 available to those affected by the hurricanes of 2005 on a one-time only basis. HARRISON admitted today that on eight (8) occasions between September 15, 2005 and October 26, 2005, he applied for and received disaster assistance funds from the Red Cross, each time representing that he had not received assistance in the past. Based on the fraudulent applications, HARRISON obtained $7,825.00 from the American Red Cross that he was not entitled to.
HARRISON faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years, a $250,000 fine, and three (3) years supervised release following imprisonment. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 11, 2010.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Spiro Latsis.
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