News and Press Releases

News and Press Releases

Woman pleads guilty to theft of public money from FEMA

October 30, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS—Today in federal court, a 30-year-old woman pleaded guilty to theft of public money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). Vianca McCarter, of Kenner, Louisiana, pleaded guilty to one count of theft of public money. McCarter, who was indicted on October 15, 2012, entered her plea before United States District Judge Donovan W. Frank.

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, that her residence and personal property had been 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 gave her $34,102 in disaster assistance benefits 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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