BELLE CHASSE MAN SENTENCED FOR DEFRAUDING LOUISIANA ROAD HOME PROGRAM
THOMAS G. STEELE, JR., age 62, a resident of Belle Chasse, Louisiana, was sentenced in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Kurt D. Engelhardt to serve three (3) years probation, to include 6 months in a halfway house and 6 months in home confinement, for making false statements to a federal agency relating to a fraudulent application he made to the Louisiana Road Home Program, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition, STEELE has been ordered to pay a $1,500 fine and restitution in the amount of $119,935 to the Louisiana Road Home Program.
According to court documents, the Louisiana Road Home Program made disaster assistance money of up to $150,000 available to those whose primary residence was destroyed by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Louisiana Road Home Program grants were disbursed through the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. STEELE applied for and received a Road Home grant of $119,935 for damages to property located at 203 Planters Canal Rd., Belle Chasse, LA, which he owned when Hurricane Katrina struck. STEELE fraudulently represented that he was the occupant of the property at the time of the storm, when in fact, his primary residence at the time of Hurricane Katrina was in Las Vegas, Nevada.
The case was investigated by the U. S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Julia K. Evans.
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: email@example.com