HAMMOND WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO DEFRAUDING AMERICAN RED CROSS
TAMARA MORRIS, age 30, a resident of Hammond, Louisiana, pled guilty today before U. S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. to an indictment charging her with mail fraud relating to fraudulent applications she made to the American Red Cross for financial assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, 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. MORRIS admitted that on eight (8) occasions between September 14, 2005 and December 7, 2005, she applied for and received disaster assistance funds from the Red Cross, each time representing that she had not received assistance in the past. Based on the fraudulent applications, MORRIS obtained $7,825.00 from the American Red Cross to which she was not entitled.
MORRIS faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years, a $250,000 fine, and three (3) years supervised release following imprisonment. Sentencing has been scheduled for November 30, 2011.
This case was brought as part of this District’s partnership with the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), a nationwide initiative to protect available funds and assistance for those victims of both natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and the recent Gulf oil spill. If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, you can contact the NCDF by either calling the hotline at (866) 720-5721, faxing the hotline at (225) 334-4707, emailing at email@example.com or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Marvin Opotowsky.
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