News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Woman sentenced for theft of public money from FEMA

February 12, 2013

MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 30-year-old woman was sentenced for theft of public money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). United States District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank sentenced Vianca McCarter, of Kenner, Louisiana, to five years of probation on one count of theft of public money. In addition, McCarter mustl serve 100 hours of community service and pay $33,502 in restitution. McCarter was indicted on October 15, 2012, and pleaded guilty on October 30, 2012.

In her plea agreement, McCarter admitted that on September 12, 2005, she falsely represented to FEMA that she resided in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast. She also falsely claimed that her residence and personal property was damaged by the disaster, and that she needed emergency rental assistance benefits. 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 November 2009.

Based on McCarter’s fraudulent application, from September 18, 2005, through October 25, 2007, FEMA awarded her a total of $34,102 in disaster assistance benefits to which she was not entitled because she did not reside in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.

This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with cooperation of the Justice Department’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Kokkinen and Lola Velazquez-Aguilu.

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