DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2007                                            PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                                                           PHONE: (409) 839-2538
                                                                                                                      CELL: (409) 553-9881



            BEAUMONT TX –    United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced that a 31-year-old Houston man has been arrested on charges of hurricane related fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.

BOB ALLEN HAYES, Jr., was indicted in September 2007 and charged with making a materially false statement to FEMA in connection with applications he filed for federal disaster relief.

            According to the indictment, Hayes claimed his primary residence in Port Arthur, Texas sustained damage during Hurricane Rita in September 2005.  Hayes also claimed his personal property sustained damage during the hurricane.  In fact, Hayes did not live at the residence in Port Arthur during the storm and did not suffer losses which entitled him to receive FEMA assistance.

            Hayes will make his initial appearance tomorrow in Houston.  If convicted, Hayes faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00. 

In September 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud.  The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force – chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division – includes members of the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, among others.

            This case is being investigated by the United States Postal Service and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Hobbs.
            It is important to note that an indictment should not be considered as evidence of guilt and that all persons charged with a crime are presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.


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