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NEW ORLEANS WOMAN, CLARISSA O. MORGAN, PLEADS GUILTY TO MAIL FRAUD

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 8, 2013

CLARISSA O. MORGAN, age 27, a resident of ­New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty today in federal court before U. S. District Judge Carl J. Barbier, to a one-count indictment charging her with mail fraud, announced U. S. Attorney Dana Boente.   

According to court documents, MORGAN submitted a fraudulent claim to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility on September 27, 2010.  In her claim application she stated that she lost income from her job at Queen and Crescent Hotel in New Orleans as a result of the oil spill.   In support of her claim, MORGAN submitted a fraudulent letter from the hotel stating that her work hours had been cut due to lack of business.  Shortly after submitting the claim form, the Gulf Coast Claims Facility mailed two payments totaling $10,300 to MORGAN’S home in New Orleans.  After the payments were issued, an investigator with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility contacted the Queen and Crescent Hotel to discuss MORGAN’S work history.  The Director of Human Resources stated that the signer of the fraudulent letter submitted by MORGAN in support of her claim was not, nor had ever been, employed at the hotel; and further, that MORGAN did not become laid off nor have her hours cut because of the oil spill.    On September 26, 2012, an agent with the FBI interviewed MORGAN about the matter.  MORGAN admitted that the claim she filed with the Gulf Coast Claims Facility was fraudulent. 

MORGAN faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 20 years, a fine of up to $250,000, and three years of supervised release following imprisonment.  Sentencing is scheduled for November 14, 2013, at 9:30 am. 

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 special agents with the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Spiro Latsis.

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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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