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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Florida

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 20, 2018

Jacksonville Man Indicted For Submitting False Claim For FEMA Benefits Related To Hurricane Irma

Jacksonville, Florida – A federal grand jury has returned an indictment charging Erick Williams (31, Jacksonville) with making a false claim against the United States related to Hurricane Irma. If convicted, he faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison, plus payment of restitution to the United States. Williams was arrested yesterday by agents from the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General; he made his initial appearance in court and a trial date has been set for June 4, 2018.

According to the indictment, in September 2017, Williams used a false address when submitting an application for assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA’s) Individuals and Households Program for Hurricane Irma. In the application, Williams lied about the address of his primary residence.

An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.

This case is part of the United States Attorney’s Disaster Fraud Task Force, which was announced in September 2017. This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Kevin C. Frein.

Members of the public who suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721. A live operator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week staffs the telephone line. You can also fax information to the Center at (225) 334-4707, or email it to disaster@leo.gov. You may also visit www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl.

Topic(s): 
Disaster Fraud
Financial Fraud
Component(s): 
Updated April 20, 2018