DOJ SealDepartment of Justice

United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory
Eastern District of Texas

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                               CONTACT:  DAVILYN WALSTON
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 21, 2009                                     PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER
WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe                         PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881




            (BEAUMONT, TX)     United States Attorney Rebecca A. Gregory announced today that a 44-year-old Vidor woman has been indicted for posing as a FEMA employee and stealing FEMA trailers in the Eastern District of Texas. 

            SHELLEY JERIE DEWITT was indicted today and charged with 3 counts of theft of government property and impersonating a federal employee.

            According to information from prosecutors, in March 2007, DeWitt falsely impersonated herself as a FEMA employee contracted to remove FEMA travel trailers that were no longer needed by Hurricane Rita evacuees.  DeWitt stole three FEMA trailers with a combined value of approximately $29,000.00 and sold one of the trailers to an unsuspecting buyer.

            If convicted, DeWitt could receive up to 10 years in federal prison for each of the theft charges and up to 3 years in federal prison for the impersonation charge.

            In September 2005, the U.S. Department of Justice 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, the Silsbee Police Department, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is being 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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