Woman Sentenced For Theft Of Public Money From FEMA
MINNEAPOLIS—Earlier today in federal court in St. Paul, a 62-year-old woman was sentenced for stealing $8,600 in disaster relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”). United States District Court District Court Judge Donovan W. Frank sentenced Rena McCarter, of Kenner, Louisiana, to three years of probation on one count of theft of public money. In addition, McCarter was ordered to serve 50 hours of community service and pay $8,600 in restitution. McCarter was charged on October 2, 2012, and pleaded guilty on October 26, 2012.
In her plea agreement, McCarter admitted that on September 16, 2005, she told FEMA that she resided in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, that her apartment and personal property had been damaged by the disaster, and that she needed emergency assistance for housing, food, and clothing. However, McCarter was residing in Minnesota when Hurricane Katrina hit on August 29, 2005. In fact, McCarter lived in housing subsidized by the Minnesota Metropolitan Council from October 2004 through September 2009.
On June 23, 2008, McCarter faxed a fraudulent application to FEMA requesting disaster relocation assistance. Based on McCarter’s fraudulent application, FEMA gave her a $1,458 grant. In total, McCarter received $8,600 in disaster assistance funding from FEMA that she was not entitled to have because she did not reside in the area affected by Hurricane Katrina.
This case was the result of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, with cooperation of the Justice Department’s Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys John E. Kokkinen and Lola Velazquez-Aguilu.