NEW ORLEANS COUPLE CHARGED IN FRAUD SCHEME INVOLVING ILLEGALLY OBTAINED BMW
SEAN HUNTER, 44, and SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER, 31, both of New Orleans, Louisiana, were charged in a one count Bill of Information today for conspiracy to commit mail fraud and making false statements to the FBI, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten and Special Agent in Charge, David Welker, of the FBI New Orleans Division .
According to the bill, on September 27, 2005, SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER contacted the AAA insurance company and fraudulently claimed that her 2005 BMW 525i, with a retail value of $53,377.27, was completely destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. Subsequently, SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER falsely completed and mailed to the AAA company a notarized odometer statement that resulted in AAA issuing checks totaling over $55,000.00. It is alleged that SEAN HUNTER and SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER colluded together and made multiple misrepresentations to the AAA insurance company, and others, to conceal, cover-up, and hide their continued use of the BMW.
Additionally, the bill alleges that SEAN HUNTER used his position as the Director of Aviation for the Louis Armstrong International Airport to help conceal the illegal nature of the scheme. Specifically, SEAN HUNTER directed a subordinate employee at the airport to issue a brake tag that he and his wife placed on the BMW.
Further, according to the bill, on two occasions in October, 2008, traffic cameras captured the BMW running red lights in New Orleans. The tickets were both mailed to the AAA insurance company.
Approximately six months, New Orleans Police Department Detective Jason Gagliano discovered the BMW hidden in a parking garage at the airport. Also according to the bill, on January 14, 2010, SEAN HUNTER lied to a Special Agents of the FBI in an effort to conceal the scheme.
If convicted SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER and SEAN HUNTER face up to five (5) years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, three (3) years of supervised release, as well as forfeiture.
Both U. S. Attorney Jim Letten and FBI SAC David Welker offer their commendation and thanks to New Orleans Police Department Superintendent Ronal Serpas, as well as Detective Jason Gagliano and the men and women of the NOPD their partnership and their important contribution to this case.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the Bill of Information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Auto Theft Investigations Division of the New Orleans Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Brian M. Klebba, James Mann and Matthew Chester of the Financial Crimes Unit.
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