|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE||CONTACT: DAVILYN WALSTON|
|TUESDAY, JUNE 16, 2009||PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER|
|WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/txe||PHONE: (409) 839-2538 CELL: (409) 553-9881|
VIDOR WOMAN GUILTY OF STEALING FEMA TRAILER
BEAUMONT TX – U.S. John M. Bales announced that a 44-year-old Vidor, TX woman has pleaded guilty to theft of government property in the Eastern District of Texas.
SHELLEY JERIE DEWITT pleaded guilty to theft of government property on June 15th before U.S. District Judge Thad Heartfield.
According to information presented in court, on Mar. 12, 2007, Dewitt falsely impersonated herself as a FEMA employee contracted to remove FEMA travel trailers that were no longer needed by those impacted by Hurricane Rita. On that day, Dewitt stole a FEMA Gulf Stream Cavalier travel trailer, which had cost the government $11,473, from the Red Cloud RV Park in Silsbee, TX. Dewitt admitted to stealing the trailer, removing all FEMA identification stickers and selling the trailer to an unsuspecting buyer for $4,000. Dewitt was indicted by a federal grand jury on Jan 21, 2009, and charged with theft of government property.
Dewitt faces up to 10 years in federal prison at sentencing. A sentencing date has not been set.
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 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 U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General and the Silsbee Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke.
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