St. Augustine Resident Indicted For FEMA Fraud
Jacksonville, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Deltra Long (66, St. Augustine) with theft of government funds and false claims against the government. If convicted, she faces a maximum penalty of 5 years in federal prison on the theft count, and up to 10 years’ imprisonment on the false claims count. The indictment also notifies Long that the United States intends to forfeit $10,022.36, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.
According to the indictment, between November 5, 2016, and April 21, 2017, Long made a false application for Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) funds after a house that she owned in St. Augustine was damaged by Hurricane Matthew. Qualified recipients of FEMA funds for disaster assistance are limited to the primary residence of a homeowner who lives in the premises at the time of the qualifying event. Long allegedly sought funds to restore rental property, which she did not occupy when Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Florida on October 3, 2016.
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 was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Taylor.
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.