Tampa Man Pleads Guilty To Submitting False Claim For FEMA Benefits Related To Hurricane Irma
Tampa, Florida – Gregory A. Douglas, Jr. (40, Tampa) has pleaded guilty to submitting a false claim. He faces a maximum penalty of five years in federal prison. His sentencing hearing has not yet been set.
According to the plea agreement, after Hurricane Irma hit Florida in September 2017, Douglas used a false address in Tampa to apply for $1,514 in disaster assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). Douglas did not reside at or own a home at that address at the time of the storm. Nevertheless, in his application to FEMA, he falsely represented it to be his primary residence. Douglas also falsely represented that he had been displaced and that he had incurred expenses for temporary housing and critical needs assistance.
This case is part of the United States Attorney’s Disaster Fraud Task Force, which was announced in September 2017. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General. It is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Patrick Scruggs.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also visit www.justice.gov/usao-mdfl.