Man Charged With Defrauding Fema After Massachusetts Tornado In 2011
Deirdre M. Daly, United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that a federal grand jury sitting in Bridgeport returned an indictment yesterday charging ROBBIE ROSSI, 41, formerly of Massachusetts, with two counts of mail fraud arising from a scheme to fraudulently obtain disaster relief funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
As alleged in the indictment and other court documents, a severe storm and tornado outbreak struck central Massachusetts on June 1, 2011. After a Presidential Declaration authorized FEMA to provide disaster relief funds to local residents, ROSSI obtained more than $12,000 in disaster relief benefits by falsely representing that he lived at a residence on New Bridge Street in West Springfield, Mass., that had been damaged by the storm. As part of the scheme, ROSSI provided FEMA with false documentation of rent payments he claimed to have paid in the months following the storm. Between August 2011 and April 2013, ROSSI is alleged to have received payments at various addresses that he supplied to FEMA, including a residence in Enfield, Conn.
ROSSI was arrested on January 14 in Las Vegas pursuant to a federal arrest warrant that was based on the conduct charged in the indictment. He is detained pending his transport to Connecticut to face the charges.
If convicted, ROSSI faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 30 years on each count.
U.S. Attorney Daly stressed that an indictment is not evidence of guilt. Charges are only allegations, and the defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
This case is being investigated by the Office of the Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney David J. Sheldon.
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