Raceland man sentenced for unemployment insurance fraud after Hurricane Katrina
CHARLES SHIELDS, age 52, a resident of Raceland, LA, was sentenced in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. to four months of home detention followed by four years probation after pleading guilty to one count of unemployment insurance fraud relating to fraudulently obtained unemployment insurance debit cards issued by the Louisiana Department of Labor for disaster unemployment assistance during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. In addition, SHIELDS has been ordered to pay $14,572 in restitution to Louisiana Work Force and Development.
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, LA 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.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the United States Department of Labor. The case was prosecuted 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