LOCAL WOMAN CHARGED WITH HURRICANE GUSTAV FEMA FRAUD
SHANETTE RAQUELL KENNARD, age 33, a resident of LaPlace, Louisiana, was charged yesterday in a single count bill of information relative to theft of government funds, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to the bill of information, KENNARD filed for emergency FEMA disaster assistance after Hurricane Gustav damaged several parishes in the Eastern District of Louisiana including St. James Parish. The defendant claimed she owned and was living in a mobile home in Convent, Louisiana at the time of the hurricane and suffered storm damage to her primary residence. KENNARD filed an emergency assistance claim and received $28,800 from FEMA. An investigation determined KENNARD’s primary residence was not in Convent, Louisiana at the time of the storm and the defendant did not become the owner of the mobile home until a month after the hurricane.
If convicted, KENNARD faces a maximum sentence of ten (10) years in prison, a $250,000.00 fine, and a three (3) year term of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, along with a special assessment fee of $100.
U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that a bill of information is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General 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: email@example.com