News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Woman pleads guilty to theft of public money from FEMA

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 26, 2012


MINNEAPOLIS—Today in federal court, a 62-year-old woman pleaded guilty to theft of public money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). Rena McCarter, of Kenner, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money. McCarter, who was charged via an Information on October 2, 2012, entered her plea before United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank.

In her plea agreement, McCarter admitted that on September 16, 2005, she told FEMA that she resided in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, that her apartment and personal property had been damaged by the disaster, and that she needed emergency assistance for housing, food, and clothing. However, McCarter was residing in Minnesota when Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. In fact, McCarter lived in housing subsidized by the Minnesota Metropolitan Council from October 2004 through September 2009.

On June 23, 2008, McCarter faxed a fraudulent application to FEMA requesting disaster relocation assistance. Based on McCarter’s fraudulent application, FEMA gave her a $1,458 grant. In total, McCarter received $8,600 in disaster assistance funding from FEMA that she was not entitled to have because she did not reside in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.    

For her offense, McCarter faces a potential maximum penalty of ten years in federal prison, as well as possible fines and forfeitures. Judge Frank will determine her sentence at a future hearing, not yet scheduled.

This case is the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Kokkinen and Lola Velazquez-Aguilu.

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