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Press Release

Louisiana Woman Charged with Wire Fraud and Aggravated Identity Theft in Connection with Fraudulent Scheme to Obtain Disaster Assistance

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana

Acting United States Attorney Corey R. Amundson, who serves as the Acting Executive Director of the National Center for Disaster Fraud, announced today that a federal grand jury for the Middle District of Louisiana has charged a Louisiana woman with wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly attempting to obtain over $150,000 in Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funds in relation to the 2016 Baton Rouge flooding. 


Following the 2016 flooding that affected 12 parishes in south Louisiana, FEMA funds were available to people who became unemployed because of the flood.  The funds were administered by the Louisiana Workforce Commission in the form of Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA).


The six-count indictment returned today charges RENATA FOREMAN, age 37, of Independence, Louisiana, with devising a scheme to defraud and to obtain money and property from FEMA by means of materially false and fraudulent pretenses.  The indictment alleges that FOREMAN obtained the identities of approximately 62 individuals, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers.  Then, using these stolen identities, FOREMAN submitted approximately 55 fraudulent claims for disaster unemployment assistance.  According to the indictment, FOREMAN attempted to obtain over $150,000 in DUA funds.  If convicted, FOREMAN could face a significant prison term, fines, and restitution.


Acting U.S. Attorney Corey R. Amundson stated, “No matter what storm or disaster we face next, natural or man-made, we will continue to identify, arrest and prosecute fraudsters who are taking advantage of and exploiting vulnerable people who have been affected by these devastating natural disasters.  The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, together with the National Center for Disaster Fraud and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, is working diligently to root out fraudulent claims for assistance and ensure that government funds are available to those who truly are in need.”


Members of the public are reminded to apply a critical eye and do their due diligence before trusting anyone purporting to be working on behalf of disaster victims.  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. The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fax information to the Center at (225) 334-4707, or email it to  Learn more about the National Center for Disaster Fraud at

This matter is being investigated by the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Pete Smyczek.


NOTE:  An indictment is an accusation by a grand jury.  The defendant is presumed innocent until and unless adjudicated guilty at trial or through a guilty plea.


Updated September 20, 2017

Disaster Fraud