FORMER MITIGATION ANALYST FROM HOME ELEVATION PROGRAM CHARGED WITH CONSPIRACY
BRIANNA LAFRANCE, age 31, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged in a one count bill of information with conspiracy to commit bribery concerning programs receiving federal funds, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the bill of information, LAFRANCE, assisted an individual identified as R.D. in soliciting the assistance of Wanda Acker Williams, a Hazard Mitigation Grant Program analyst, to mine the OCD/DRU database of homeowners eligible for funds from the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Williams, who was charged by the government last week with the same offense, is alleged to have received money in exchange for the list of names given to R.D.
Upon receiving the lists of names from Williams, R.D. would either sell the lists to general contractors for them to secure contracts or would use the names as leads to solicit those homeowners to enter a contract with a contractor with whom R.D. did business.
The bill of information alleges that on seven occasions Williams received cash in exchange for a list of eligible homeowners. LAFRANCE, who was a mitigation analyst prior to March 25, 2011, when she went to work for R.D., is alleged to have assisted in two of the transactions between Williams and R.D.
LAFRANCE faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five (5) years, a fine of $250,000.00 and three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that the bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being investigated by Department of Homeland Security-OIG with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Emily K. Greenfield and Matthew Coman.
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