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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Tuesday - May 13, 2003

GREENVILLE - United States Attorney Frank D. Whitney announced that WAYNE ALLEN FLETCHER, 56, of Slidell, Louisiana, was sentenced in federal court in Greenville, N. C., on Tuesday, May 13, 2003, by U. S. District Judge Malcolm J. Howard. He was ordered to serve 80 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release, and pay a fine of $50,000.00. FLETCHER was convicted in federal court in Greenville on January 28, 2003, following a two-week jury trial.

The jury found him guilty of 12 federal criminal violations related to the 1996-1997 Hurricane Fran cleanup. FLETCHER, then Vice-President and Controller of Johnny F. Smith Truck and Dragline Services, Inc., was indicted by a federal grand jury, in Raleigh, N. C., on January 15, 2002.

FLETCHER was convicted of: one count of conspiracy to defraud the United States through the use of false claims; five counts of filing false, fictitious, or fraudulent claims; one count of money laundering; three counts of possession of false documents intended to be used to defraud the United States; one count of witness tampering; and one count of influencing a witness.

According to documents filed in United States District Court,FLETCHER was a senior employee and the Vice-President and Controller of Johnny F. Smith Truck and Dragline Services, Inc. (Smith Truck), a Mississippi corporation with corporate headquarters in Slidell, Louisiana. Smith Truck provided professional storm debris removal and reduction services throughout the United States to assist in recovery from hurricanes, tornadoes, floods, and other natural disasters. FLETCHER was Smith Truck's field coordinator and project manager in North Carolina and also provided contract administration, billing, and tax management services. Smith Truck pled guilty in Greenville on August 30, 2001, to a charge of conspiracy to defraud the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and the State of North Carolina, and paid $2,404,833.00 in fines and restitution.

The sentencing of WAYNE ALLEN FLETCHER concludes the extensive investigation and prosecution of Hurricane Fran related fraud.

The multi-agency investigation was conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency - Office of Inspector General, the United States Army Criminal Investigation Command, the N. C. State Bureau of Investigation, and the Defense Contract Audit Agency. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney J. Gaston B. Williams, of the United States Attorney's Office, and Special Assistant United States Attorney and Assistant Attorney General William R. Miller, of the North Carolina Attorney General's Office.

News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney's web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.

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