DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 6, 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 4 Beaumont men have been indicted today on separate charges of hurricane related fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.

DEMASTERS LEE SAM, 42, DAMARCUS LEE SAM, 40, DEMITRI LEE DAVIS, 44, and WILYUM HENDERSON, 49, all of Beaumont, were each charged in separate indictments with making a materially false statement to FEMA in connection with applications they each filed for federal disaster relief.

            According to the indictments, beginning on or about October 4, 2005, each defendant allegedly filed a claim with FEMA in which they requested Disaster Housing and Individual Assistance for losses they reportedly suffered from Hurricane Rita for the same property, although they did not suffer those losses.  Each received $2,000.00 in assistance as a result of their allegedly fictitious claims.

            If convicted, each 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.

            These cases are 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 Randall L. Fluke.
            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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