Siskiyou County Man Sentenced to 1 Year in Prison for Major Fraud Against the United States for Taking FEMA Grant Funds
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Andrew Keffer, 46, previously of Chico, was sentenced today to one month in prison to be followed by 150 days of home detention for theft of FEMA benefits issued in connection with the 2018 Camp Fire, U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
Following the 2018 Camp and Carr Fires, FEMA assistance was available to individuals who, as a result of the fires, had emergency needs for food, shelter, and personal items. To qualify for certain benefits, an individual’s primary residence—the place where the individual resided at the time of the fire—had to have been destroyed or damaged by the fire, among other eligibility criteria.
According to court documents, FEMA issued Keffer two checks totaling $4,481.85, based on his application for FEMA benefits that falsely claimed Keffer’s primary residence had been destroyed in the Camp Fire. Keffer cashed the two checks knowing he was not a victim of the Camp Fire and was not entitled to the money. This case came to the attention of federal law enforcement through a tip from a member of the public.
This case was the result of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General with assistance from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelley D. Weger prosecuted the case.
The U.S. Department of Justice established the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) to investigate, prosecute, and deter fraud in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when billions of dollars in federal disaster relief poured into the Gulf Coast region. Its mission has expanded to include suspected fraud from any natural or manmade disaster. More than 20 federal, state, and local agencies participate in the NCDF, which allows the center to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information related to disaster relief fraud. Report disaster fraud by contacting the NCDF Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or www.justice.gov/DisasterComplaintForm.