RACELAND MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO KATRINA RELATED UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE FRAUD
CHARLES SHIELDS, age 52, a resident of Raceland, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before U. S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. to one count of wire fraud relating to fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance debit cards issued by the Louisiana Department of Labor (LDOL) for disaster unemployment assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, between April 14, 2006 and June 17, 2006, SHIELDS fraudulently obtained and used unemployment insurance debit cards issued in the names of other persons and to the accounts of those persons by withdrawing cash from ATM machines in and around the Houma, Louisiana area where he was employed. Further, SHIELDS certified to the LDOL, on a weekly basis, that the persons whose debit cards he fraudulently obtained and used, were still unemployed and seeking work, thereby causing the LDOL to continue supplying funds to those debit cards. SHIELDS fraudulently received approximately $14,572 in FEMA and LDOL unemployment benefits to which he was not entitled.
Upon sentencing, scheduled for November 16, 2011, SHIELDS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years, a $250,0000 fine, restitution to FEMA and the Louisiana Department of Labor, and three (3) years of supervised release following imprisonment.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Labor. The prosecution is being handled 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: firstname.lastname@example.org