U.S. District Court Judges Order Two S. Floridians to Reimburse FEMA

June 8, 2005

Quiana Riggins and Lesley Johnson were ordered yesterday by the U.S. District Court in Miami to repay the Federal Emergency Management Agency for funds they received after filing false hurricane damage claims.

Riggins and Johnson, the first two Miami-Dade County residents out of 14 indicted in March on federal fraud charges, pleaded guilty to cheating the federal government by filing false hurricane damage claims.

After Hurricane Frances hit 100 miles north of Miami, Riggs collected almost $25,000 for a sewer backup that according to court records occurred weeks before the storm. According to the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel, U.S. District Court Judge K. Michael Moore sentenced her to two months’ house arrest and three years’ probation, along with the repayment.

U.S. District Judge Paul C. Huck ordered Johnson, of Homestead, to repay $6,203 and ordered her to four years’ probation and 400 hours of community service a year.

Last month, investigations by a U.S. Senate committee and the Inspector General of the Department of Homeland Security found that FEMA inappropriately declared Miami-Dade County a disaster area and then awarded $31 million to 13,000 residents, often without verifying storm damage or a need for assistance.

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