Fraud News: FEMA and Disaster Aid Fraud, Staged Crashes, Mobile Home Arson

October 6, 2017
Woman Accused of Stealing IDs to Get $150K in FEMA Money

A Louisiana woman is accused of using stolen IDs to apply for $150,000 in disaster unemployment assistance after the August 2016 floods in Louisiana.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Baton Rouge says a federal grand jury indicted 47-year-old Renata Foreman of Independence on six counts Wednesday, including wire fraud and aggravated identity theft.

The indictment alleges that she obtained identity information from about 62 people and used three stolen IDs to submit about 55 fraudulent claims with the Louisiana Workforce Commission. Although the state administered the money, it came from the Federal Emergency Management Administration.

Louisiana Man Pleads Guilty to Disaster Aid Theft

A Louisiana man has pleaded guilty to stealing disaster aid linked to last year’s flooding in Baton Rouge.

Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson says 65-year-old Joe W. Jones, of Baton Rouge, entered the plea Tuesday to theft of government funds in the amount of $13,806 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Amundson, in a news release, said Jones filed a fraudulent claim with FEMA seeking disaster assistance following the 2016 flooding that affected 12 parishes in south Louisiana. He says Jones filed for a home that he claimed was his primary residence at the time of the storm. But, Amundson’s office says, Jones was living elsewhere and was renting the home to someone whose own FEMA application was delayed because of Jones’ fraudulent claim.

A sentencing date is pending.

West Virginia Men Sentenced for Fraudulent Claims in Staged Crashes

Two West Virginia men have been sentenced for their roles in filing false insurance claims for vehicle accidents.

Federal prosecutors say the accidents were staged from 2012 to 2014 in Taylor, Harrison and Marion counties.

Fifty-five-year-old Dallas Lewis of Clarksburg was sentenced Wednesday in federal court in Clarksburg to seven years and eight months in prison for his guilty plea to conspiracy to commit mail fraud.

Thirty-four-year-old Charles Bonner of Morgantown was sentenced to two years and three months for mail fraud.

Lewis was ordered to pay $290,000 in restitution and Bonner was ordered to pay more than $152,000.

Bonner admitted faking injuries and filing a false insurance claim that paid about $101,500 to him and others. He also admitted a role in getting a settlement check sent to someone else for $46,500.

Man Arrested for Burning Down Mobile Home, Insurance Fraud

Authorities say a South Carolina man who burned down his roommate’s mobile home and attempted to make an insurance claim has been arrested.

The Herald of Rock Hill reported Wednesday that 57-year-old James Harold Baldwin was charged with second-degree arson and burning personal property to defraud an insurer. Firefighters later told police that no one was inside the mobile home at the time of the June 6 fire.

York County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Trent Faris says Baldwin is accused of burning down the mobile home while his roommate was out of town. Authorities say he then tried to make an insurance claim on his possessions.

Baldwin is being held at the York County Detention Center on a $20,000 bond. It’s unclear if he has a lawyer.

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