NEDRA BELL PLEADS GUILTY TO KATRINA RELATED FRAUD AND TO MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO HOUSING AUTHORITY OF NEW ORLEANS
NEDRA BELL, age 40, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before U.S. District Court Judge Lance M. Africk, to theft of government funds and to making false statements to an agency of the United States, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.
According to court documents, BELL applied for a Louisiana Road Home grant for property she was renting from her brother at the time of Hurricane Katrina. BELL applied for the grant on behalf of her brother, falsely stating that he was residing in the property at the time of Hurricane Katrina. As a result of her false statements in her application, BELL fraudulently received approximately $54,372 from the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”), an agency and department of the United States.
BELL is also charged with one count of making false statements to a federal agency on a re-certification application and HUD Income Questionnaire to the Housing Authority of New Orleans (“HANO”) for HUD rental subsidized housing under its Section 8 program. BELL denied that she received self-employment income or owned property, when in truth and in fact, she received income from her business as a hair stylist and owned property.
Upon sentencing, set for June 20, 2013, BELL faces a maximum term of imprisonment of fifteen years years, a $250,0000 fine, restitution to the HUD, three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment, and a $200 special assessment.
The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General. 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