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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of New York

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Schoharie Man Sentenced to 18 Months for Defrauding FEMA

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Scott A. Clapper, Jr., age 31, of Schoharie, New York, was sentenced today to 18 months in prison for making false statements and submitting false documents in connection with government benefits he received following Hurricane Irene.

The announcement was made by United States Attorney Richard S. Hartunian and Giovanni Tiano, Special Agent in Charge of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, Detroit Field Office.

Senior U.S. District Judge Thomas J. McAvoy also ordered Clapper to serve 3 years of supervised release, to begin upon Clapper’s release from prison; to pay $16,426 in restitution to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA); and to pay a $1,300 special assessment to the Court.  Clapper will serve the 18-month prison sentence concurrently with state prison sentences he is currently serving for burglary convictions unrelated to his defrauding of FEMA. He becomes eligible for state parole in March 2019.

As part of his guilty plea in January, Clapper admitted to making false statements and submitting false documents to FEMA following Hurricane Irene, which struck New York in August 2011 and made uninhabitable the Schoharie County home in which Clapper was living at the time.

Clapper told FEMA that his monthly rent at his new home, in Westerlo, was $1,200, when it was really $500.   In an effort to document the $1,200 monthly rent, Clapper also submitted to FEMA fake lease agreements and rent receipts containing the forged signature of his landlord.  Clapper received $16,426 from FEMA as a result of these falsehoods.

This case was investigated by the Detroit Field Office of the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General, and was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Barnett.

Financial Fraud
Updated July 15, 2016