NEW ORLEANS COUPLE CHARGED IN SUPERSEDING INDICTMENT FOR CONSPIRACY, OBSTRUCTION OF JUSTICE, AND LYING TO THE FBI
SEAN HUNTER, 44, and SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER, 31, both of New Orleans, Louisiana, were charged today in a nine-count Superseding Indictment for conspiracy, obstruction of justice, making false statements to the FBI, interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle and concealment and storage of a stolen motor vehicle, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
Specifically, SEAN HUNTER and SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER were charged in Count 1 with conspiracy to commit obstruction of justice and making false statements to a federal agent. Counts 2 and 3 charge SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER with Interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle. Count 4 charges SEAN HUNTER with Concealment and storage of a stolen motor vehicle. Count 5 charges SEAN HUNTER with obstruction of justice. Counts 6, 7 and 8 charge SEAN HUNTER with making false statements to federal agents. Count 9 charges SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER with making false statements to federal agents. On August 27, 2010, a Bill of Information was filed charging SEAN HUNTER and SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER with conspiracy to commit mail fraud and making false statements to federal agents. Today’s Superseding Indictment expands on the original Bill and adds the additional charges of interstate transportation of a stolen motor vehicle, concealment and storage of a stolen motor vehicle, obstruction of justice and four additional charges of making false statements to federal agents.
According to today’s superseding indictment, on September 27, 2005, SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER contacted the AAA insurance company and falsely claimed that her 2005 BMW 525i, with a retail value of $53,377.27, was completely destroyed during Hurricane Katrina and was a total loss. 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.
The indictment charges 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, thereby defrauding AAA of their residual value and equity in the BMW.
The indictment also 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 BMW in that he directed a subordinate employee at the airport to issue HUNTER a brake tag that he and his wife placed on the BMW.
The fraud investigation began in late October 2008 when a traffic camera captured the BMW running a red light at the intersection of South Carrollton Avenue and Palmetto Street in New Orleans. The Carrollton Avenue ticket as well as a second red light ticket that was issued 12 days later were both mailed to the AAA insurance company.
Approximately six months later a detective with the New Orleans Police Department discovered the stolen BMW hidden in a parking garage at the airport. With the help of the FBI, the NOPD and FBI determined that SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER and SEAN HUNTER made a series of misrepresentations in an effort to conceal the true location of the BMW from insurance officials and law enforcement. The grand jury found that SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER had illegally transported the BMW from Louisiana to Texas and then back to Louisiana in violation of federal law. In addition, SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER and SEAN HUNTER were indicted for lying to FBI agents in an effort to mislead federal investigators. SEAN HUNTER is also charged with obstruction of justice for attempting to influence a federal witness’s testimony in this investigation.
In addition, on Monday, September 13, 2010, a federal grand jury in the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, indicted SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER with two counts of Mail Fraud. According to that indictment, SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER, while living in Houston, Texas, utilized the mails to commit fraud against the AAA insurance company in order to fraudulently obtain the BMW 525i luxury sedan. SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER faces up to forty (40) years imprisonment if convicted of the indictment handed down by the federal grand jury in Texas.
If convicted of all charges in both states, SHAUNA CROWDEN HUNTER faces up to seventy (70) years in federal prison and SEAN HUNTER faces up to forty (40) years imprisonment of convicted of all counts. Each defendant also faces up to three (3) years of supervised release as well as $1.5 million in fines.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the superseding indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the New Orleans Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorneys Sal Perricone, James Mann, Brian M. Klebba, and Matthew Chester of the U. S. Attorney’s 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