United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe
Eastern District of Texas
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON
TUESDAY, JANUARY 22, 2008 PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe PHONE: (409) 839-2538
CELL: (409) 553-9881
SILSBEE MAN GUILTY OF HURRICANE FRAUD
BEAUMONT TX – United States Attorney John L. Ratcliffe announced that a 24-year-old Silsbee man has pleaded guilty to charges of hurricane related fraud in the Eastern District of Texas.
CHARLIE MONROE REID, 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. He pleaded guilty to those charges today before United States District Judge Marcia A. Crone.
According to information presented in court, o n October 2, 2005, Reid applied for FEMA disaster-related benefits, falsely claiming that a mobile home in Kountze, Texas, was his primary residence. In fact, as federal authorities with FEMA and the U.S. Postal Service later discovered, the mobile home actually belonged to a friend of an acquaintance of Reid's. In the month prior to Hurricane Rita, the homeowner had allowed Reid to temporarily stay at the mobile home, to help Reid get on his feet. Reid and the homeowner evacuated, separately, prior to Hurricane Rita. While the homeowner was evacuated from the area, Reid broke into the mobile home and looted the homeowner's personal belongings. Additionally, Reid's false claim delayed the homeowner in obtaining FEMA funds. As a result of Reid's fraud and false claim, Reid received $2,000 in disaster assistance from FEMA to which he was not entitled.
Reid faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.00. at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set.
In September 2005, the Attorney General's Office 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 Inspection Service and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Randall L. Fluke.
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