HAMMOND WOMAN SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING AMERICAN RED CROSS
MECHELL TURNER, age 30, a resident of Hammond, Louisiana, was sentenced in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Sarah S. Vance to three (3) years probation for one count of wire fraud, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition, TURNER has been ordered to pay $10,965 in restitution to the Red Cross.
According to court documents, TURNER applied for and received disaster assistance funds from the American Red Cross on ten (10) occasions. 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. TURNER repeatedly applied for these funds throughout the early fall of 2005, each time indicating that she had not yet received any money at all from the Red Cross. In all, TURNER was provided $12,170 from the American Red Cross, of which approximately $10,965 was fraudulently obtained.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Peter M. Thomson.
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