Jacksonville Man Pleads Guilty To Submitting False Claims For FEMA Benefits Involving Tropical Storm Debby, Hurricane Matthew, And Hurricane Irma
Jacksonville, Florida – Lepoleon Spikes (47, Jacksonville) has pleaded guilty to wire fraud involving fraudulently obtained FEMA benefits. He faces up to 20 years in federal prison and has agreed to pay $57,789.19 in restitution to the United States.
According to the plea agreement, in February 2018, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG) received an allegation that Spikes had provided false information to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in order to receive disaster assistance. Further investigation determined that Spikes had submitted applications to receive disaster assistance from FEMA involving Tropical Storm Debby, Hurricane Matthew, and Hurricane Irma. In the applications, Spikes falsely claimed that his primary residence in Jacksonville had been damaged due to a storm, causing him to relocate. Based on these false claims, Spikes fraudulently obtained $57,789.19 in disaster assistance from FEMA.
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 is being 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 email@example.com. You may also visit www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl.