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NEDRA BELL SENTENCED FOR KATRINA RELATED FRAUD AND MAKING FALSE STATEMENTS TO HOUSING AUTHORITY OF NEW ORLEANS

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 27, 2013

NEDRA BELL, age 40, a resident of New Orleans, was sentenced today in federal court by U. S. District Judge Lance M. Africk to serve 5 years probation to include one year of home confinement, after pleading guilty to theft of government funds, and to making false statements to an agency of the United States, announced U. S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.  In addition, BELL has been ordered to pay $113,252.97 in restitution to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (“HUD”).

According to court documents, BELL applied for a Louisiana Road Home Program (“LRHP”) 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 HUD.  BELL is also convicted 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.  As a result of BELL’s misrepresentations, she received a total of $58,881 in rental assistance from HUD.

This case was brought as part of this District’s partnership with the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), a nationwide initiative to protect available funds and assistance for those victims of both natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes and the recent Gulf oil spill.  If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, you can contact the NCDF by either calling the hotline at (866) 720-5721, faxing (225) 334-4707, emailing at disaster@leo.gov or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909.

The case was investigated by agents with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Julia K. Evans.

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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: disaster@leo.gov

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