HOUSTON WOMAN CHARGED WITH DEFRAUDING AMERICAN RED CROSS
TAMARA SHERETHA MORRIS, 29, a resident of Houston, Texas, was charged today in a two-count indictment for mail fraud relating to her applications to the American Red Cross for financial assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the indictment, 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. It is alleged documents show that on eight (8) separate occasions between September 2005 and October 2005, MORRIS applied for and received disaster assistance funds from the Red Cross. The indictment alleges that MORRIS intentionally violated the Red Cross’s one-time only policy by continuing to apply for these funds, representing that she had not received assistance in the past. According to the indictment, MORRIS applied for and obtained approximately $10,945.00, of which approximately $9,380.00 was obtained by fraud.
If convicted, MORRIS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years and a $250,0000 fine.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that an indictment 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. The case is being 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