DALLAS RESIDENT PLEADS GUILTY TO KATRINA-RELATED FRAUD
SHARON DECARLO BAKER, age 51, currently a resident of Dallas, Texas, pled guilty yesterday in front of U. S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon to a one-count Bill of Information charging her with theft of government funds for her role in obtaining over $30,000 fraudulently from the Louisiana Road Home Program in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, after Hurricane Katrina devastated the New Orleans area, the defendant filed an application for a Road Home grant, representing that she owned a property located at 1326 Gardena Street, New Orleans, Louisiana, and that the property was her primary residence on August 29, 2005. BAKER fraudulently represented that she was a full-time resident of the Gardena Street property, when, in fact, she had been living and working in Dallas, Texas at the time of the storm. As a result of these representations, BAKER defrauded the Louisiana Road Home Program and obtained $33,500 in HUD Community Development Block Grant money, for which she was not entitled.
BAKER faces a maximum of ten years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment and a $100 special assessment. Sentencing has been scheduled for August 26, 2010.
The case was investigated by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development - Office of the Inspector General and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Jordan Ginsberg.
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