U.S. Department of Justice
Karin J. Immergut
United States Attorney
District of Oregon
1000 SW Third Avenue, Ste. 600 (503) 727-1000
Portland, OR 97204-2902 Fax: (503) 727-1117
1/27/06 - PRESS RELEASE
Three More Portland Residents Charged with Fraud and Receipt of
Stolen FEMA Hurricane Katrina Disaster Relief Funds
PORTLAND, OREGON - Karin J. Immergut, the United States Attorney for the District of Oregon, announced today that two additional indictments have been unsealed charging three more Portland residents in connection with fraudulent receipt of Hurricane Katrina disaster relief funds. The indictments were returned by a federal grand jury in Portland on January 25, 2006.
James A. Irby, 46, and Miranda J. Nelson, 20, are charged with five counts of Mail Fraud, l8 USC Sec. 1341, which carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison and a $l,000,000 fine.
Olelia L. Brown, 2l, is charged with two counts of Receipt of Stolen Government Property, l8 USC Sec. 641, each of which carries a maximum penalty of l0 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The indictment naming James Irby and Miranda Nelson alleges that Irby and Nelson devised a scheme whereby they would apply to FEMA for Katrina disaster relief in their own names and in the names of other persons by falsely representing that the applicant was displaced from their primary residence and needed shelter because of Hurricane Katrina. The indictment further alleges that Irby and Nelson would cause FEMA to mail relief checks payable to the applicants to their address or the addresses of other persons participating in the scheme. The indictment naming Brown charges her with Receipt of Stolen Government Property in connection with her receipt of such checks.
Irby and Brown will appear in U.S. District Court in Portland for arraignment at l:30 pm today. Nelsonç—´ appearance has not yet been scheduled. These new indictments follow the announcement yesterday by the U.S. Attorneyç—´ Office of six Portland area residents charged with similar crimes.
A criminal indictment is only an allegation and not evidence of guilt. Defendants are presumed to be innocent unless and until proven guilty.
This prosecution is supported by the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force established by the United States Attorney General on September 8, 2005. Task Force members include the Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General, the Federal Trade Commission, the Postal Inspection Service, the Securities & Exchange Commission, and other federal agencies. This national task force, working with state and local agencies, will swiftly bring to justice those who seek to commit fraud in connection with payment of hurricane relief funds.
Anyone who has information relating to fraudulent receipt of Hurricane Katrina Disaster Assistance funds is urged to report it at The Department of Justice Katrina Fraud Task Force and Federal Trade Commission Consumer Response Center at (877) 382-4357, or (877) 362-2502 for persons with speech or hearing impairment
For questions please contact Public Information Officer Diane Peterson at (503) 727-1066.