Due to the lapse in appropriations, Department of Justice websites will not be regularly updated. The Department’s essential law enforcement and national security functions will continue. Please refer to the Department of Justice’s contingency plan for more information.

You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Pennsylvania

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Philadelphia Woman Sentenced For Fraud On FEMA

Celeste Palmer, 54, of Philadelphia, PA, was sentenced today to a day in custody followed by three years supervised release, with the first four months of supervised release to be served in a halfway house, and the next six months to be served on house arrest, for scheming to receive disaster relief assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), when she was not entitled to receive those benefits. Palmer pleaded guilty to one count of wire fraud on December 1, 2014.


After Hurricane Irene came through the Philadelphia area on August 26, 2011, Palmer made fraudulent claims to FEMA for disaster assistance, which Palmer supported with falsified rent receipts and leases.  Palmer’s scheme led FEMA to award her disaster rental assistance in the total amount of $14,487, to which Palmer knew she was not entitled. 


The case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Mary E. Crawley.

Updated May 21, 2015