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Press Release

Philadelphia Woman Charged With Defrauding FEMA

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Eastern District of Pennsylvania

PHILADELPHIA - Schwana Debnam, 38, of Philadelphia, PA, was charged by information with one count of theft of government funds, announced United States Attorney Zane David Memeger.  According to the information, the defendant applied for and received Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”) benefits, alleging that she had been displaced from her home as a result of Hurricane Irene.  The information charges that the representations in the defendant’s application to FEMA were false, and that, in fact, she was never displaced from her primary residence.  The defendant’s alleged actions resulted in a loss to the government of approximately $26,756.           


If convicted, the defendant faces a statutory maximum sentence of 10 years in prison, up to three years of supervised release, restitution to the government of $26,756, a fine of up to $250,000, and a $100 special assessment.


The case was investigated by Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Bea Witzleben.


An Information is an accusation.  A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Updated February 4, 2016