WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO FRAUD AND IDENTITY THEFT IN THE AFTERMATH OF HURRICANE KATRINA
SHANTELL MOSES, age 36, formerly a resident of Louisiana, pled guilty today before U. S. District Judge Mary Ann Vial Lemmon to one count of mail fraud and one count of identity theft, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, SHANTELL MOSES fraudulently applied for disaster assistance funds from the American Red Cross on eleven (11) separate occasions between September and October 2005. The Red Cross made disaster assistance funds of up to $1,565 available to those affected by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005 on a one-time only basis. According to court documents, MOSES was not a resident of an area affected by the hurricane at the time Katrina made landfall. Because she was not a resident of Louisiana, MOSES obtained a fraudulent Louisiana identification card in the name “Tora Yvette Hodges” with a false residential address in Kenner, Louisiana. According to court documents, Tora Hodges, a Georgia resident whom MOSES knew, never gave MOSES permission or authorization to use her identity for any purpose. This false identification obtained by MOSES was utilized at each and every American Red Cross shelter for the purpose of defrauding the Red Cross into believing that MOSES was a resident of Louisiana. In all, MOSES, fraudulently obtained $16,915 from the American Red Cross.
As to the mail fraud count, MOSES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years, a fine of $250,000, three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and a $100 special assessment. As to the identity theft count, MOSES faces a maximum term of imprisonment of fifteen (15) years, a $250,000 fine, three (3) years of supervised release, and a $100 special assessment.
The case is being investigated by agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Matt Chester.
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: email@example.com