FOUR MORE INDICTED IN CONNECTION WITH HURRICANE KATRINA FRAUD
Defendants Falsely Claimed they Resided on Gulf Coast During Hurricane Disaster
Four more residents of Western Washington have been indicted by a federal grand jury for filing false claims that they suffered damages from Hurricane Katrina. This brings to eleven the total number of defendants indicted in the Western District of Washington for collecting thousands of dollars in assistance they didn’t deserve. One woman collected more than $25,000 in assistance.
MATTIE GRESHAM, 52, of Lakewood, Washington fraudulently claimed $25,600 in assistance. ANTHONY HUNTER 44, of Tacoma, Washington, fraudulently collected $18,720 in assistance. OLAF TWEEDIE, 38, of Kent, Washington, fraudulently collected $8,183 in assistance. WALTER JOSEPH LEWIS, 49, of Federal Way, Washington fraudulently collected $6,852 in assistance.
GRESHAM is charged with False Statement for claiming she lived in New Orleans at the time of the Hurricane. HUNTER is also charged with False Statement for claiming he lived in Moss Point, Mississippi at the time of the hurricane. TWEEDIE is charged with False Statement and two counts of Social Security Number Fraud for claiming he lived in Slidell, Louisiana at the time of the hurricane. TWEEDIE also claimed he had two daughters and provided false social security numbers for the daughters in an effort to obtain higher benefits. TWEEDIE lived in Des Moines, Friday Harbor, and Federal Way, Washington, but currently resides at the Regional Justice Center in Kent on local charges. LEWIS is charged with False Statement for claiming he lived in New Orleans at the time of the hurricane.
Earlier this month the federal grand jury indicted Rosemarie Calvin, 45, a former Washington resident now residing in Henderson, Nevada, Petrice Sharnell Trent, 36, a former Washington resident now residing in Harvey, Louisiana, Gregory Frank Wilkes, 50, of Auburn, Washington, Diane Lynn Clay, 53 of Everett, Washington, George E. Cuiellette, 60, of Bellevue, Washington, Valerie Montgomery, 38, of Lakewood, Washington, and Joy Lynn Promise, 36, of Everett, Washington all in connection with Katrina Fraud.
Making a False Statement and Social Security Number Fraud are both punishable by up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
An indictment contains allegations that have not been proven at trial beyond a reasonable doubt.
The Katrina Fraud Task Force in the Western District of Washington is being led by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG). The task force pro-actively reviewed all applications for Hurricane Katrina assistance from the State of Washington to determine whether the recipients were residing in Washington or the Gulf Coast at the time of the hurricane. The investigation of fraudulent claims is continuing.
In the Western District of Washington the agencies working on the task force include the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General (DOL-OIG), the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office of Inspector General (HUD-OIG), the Social Security Administration Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG), the Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General (SBA-OIG), the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General (VA-OIG), the U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), the FBI and the Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS).
These Katrina Fraud cases are being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Carl Blackstone, Kathryn Frierson, Arlen Storm and Susan Loitz.
For additional information from the U.S. Attorney’s Office on these cases, please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.
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 the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General community, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys and others.
Anyone suspecting criminal activity involving disaster assistance programs can make an anonymous report by calling the toll-free Hurricane Relief Fraud Hotline, 1-866-720-5721, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until further notice. Information can also be emailed to the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force at HKFTF@leo.gov or sent by surface mail, with as many details as possible, to Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909.