LOCAL WOMAN PLEADS GUILTY TO HURRICANE GUSTAV FEMA FRAUD
SHANETTE RAQUELL KENNARD, age 33, a resident of LaPlace, Louisiana, plead guilty as charged in federal court today before United States District Judge Ivan L.R. Lemelle to one count of theft of government funds relating to her fraudulent application and payments by FEMA for disaster assistance in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav, announced U.S. Attorney Jim Letten.
According to court documents, the defendant 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 residency. The defendant filed an emergency assistance claim and received $28,800 from FEMA. An investigation determined the defendant’s primary residency 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.
Upon sentencing, scheduled for August 8, 2012, the defendant faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten (10) years in jail, a $250,000.00 fine, three (3) years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and $100 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and was 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