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Sept. 21, 2012

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Galveston Man Sentenced in FEMA Fraud Scheme

HOUSTON - Patrick Adolf Prendergast Jr., 53, has been sentenced to federal prison following his conviction of Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) fraud, United States Attorney Kenneth Magidson announced today. Prendergast, of Galveston, Texas, was found guilty by a Houston jury on Feb. 13, 2012, following a five-day trial and approximately three hours of deliberation.

Today, U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon, who presided over the trial, handed Prendergast a 27-month prison term to be followed by three years of supervised release. In handing down the sentence, Judge Harmon further ordered he pay a $13,167.25 in restitution.

Prendergast was indicted in September 2011 for knowingly submitting a document containing a false statement in order to receive disaster relief payments following Hurricane Ike under the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act.

During the trial, the United States presented evidence from eight witnesses establishing that Prendergast submitted a FEMA Hurricane Ike claim on a house he did not actually own. As a result of the claim, Prendergast received approximately $14,000 from FEMA. Prendergast also received a $75,000 from the Community Development Block Grant to remodel the home, which belonged to his mother. The fraud was detected before the remodeling was complete. At trial, the defense failed to convince the jury that Prendergast did own the house and that it was all a mistake.

He has been in federal custody since his arrest on Sept. 21, 2011, where he will remain pending transfer to a U.S. Bureau of Prisons facility to be determined in the near future.

The investigation was conducted by FEMA and the Department of Housing and Urban Development. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys F. Andino Reynal and Craig Feazel.