DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 4, 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 today that a 45-year-old Dayton woman has been sentenced to 36 months probation for hurricane-related fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.  Turner must also repay $6,799.16 in restitution. 

LORETTA TURNER was indicted on March 7, 2007 for making a materially false statement to FEMA in connection with applications she filed for federal disaster relief.  She was sentenced today by United States District Judge Thad Heartfield.

            According to information presented in court, beginning around September 30, 2005, Turner allegedly filed a claim with FEMA in which she requested Disaster Housing Assistance for losses she reportedly suffered from Hurricane Katrina.  However, it was determined the Turner did not suffer any losses as a result of Hurricane Katrina and was not entitled to benefits related to such losses.
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.

            The case is being investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney John A. Craft.


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