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Press Release

Mannford Woman Sentenced To 6 Months Home Detention And 5 Years Probation For Fraudulently Receiving Over $30,000 In FEMA Disaster Relief

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of Oklahoma

TULSA, Okla. — Kerry Lynn Rowell, 42, of Mannford, was sentenced by U.S. District Court Chief Judge Gregory K. Frizzell to six months of home detention with electronic monitoring, to be followed by five years of probation, for fraudulently obtaining Federal Emergency Disaster Agency (FEMA) disaster assistance benefits made available to victims of the August 2012 Mannford wildfires, announced United States Attorney Danny C. Williams Sr. for the Northern District of Oklahoma. As part of the sentencing, the Court ordered Rowell to pay restitution in the amount of $31,400 to FEMA.

Rowell pleaded guilty to the charge on May 2, 2014 and was charged by information on March 18, 2014.

According to the plea agreement, from August 23, 2012 to September 23, 2013, Rowell made false statements and provided false documents to support her application for FEMA disaster assistance. Rowell claimed her primary residence and personal property, including appliances and televisions, were destroyed by the wildfires, when in fact she did not reside at that residence and the personal property was not in the residence. The house was actually owned by her mother and was uninhabited, dilapidated, and had no utility service. Rowell fraudulently received $31,400 in FEMA disaster assistance benefits.

The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General and the United States Secret Service. Assistant U.S. Attorney Charles M. McLoughlin prosecuted on behalf of the United States.

If someone has any questions about how assistance benefits may be spent, has made a mistake when reporting damage, or has misrepresented losses, he or she may correct the situation immediately by calling the toll-free FEMA Helpline at 1-800-621-FEMA or 1-800-462-7585 (TTY) for the speech or hearing impaired.

Anyone with information that an individual may have defrauded the government in connection with a disaster may call the toll-free DHS’s OIG Hotline at 1-800-323-8603. Complaints may be made anonymously and confidentially.

Updated July 14, 2015