Arrests of nine Broward County residents indicted for defrauding the Federal Emergency Assistance Agency to obtain disaster relief after last year’s Hurricane Frances have been announced jointly by R. Alexander Acosta, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Donald J. Balberchak, special agent in charge, Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, Miami Field Office.
Each defendant was individually charged in a one count Indictment with making false claims to FEMA, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. If convicted, the defendants face maximum statutory penalties of 5 years’ imprisonment as to each false claim count. The Indictments allege that each defendant falsely represented to FEMA that he/she had sustained personal property damage during Hurricane Frances.
Based on these false representations and claims, each defendant received FEMA disaster relief assistance in the following approximate amounts: Siandra Lekitia Elick, $7,832.16; Jiquana Heath, $10,782.29; Maryse Dubuisson, $6,293.03; Felicia Benita Johnson, $9,476.07; Themecia Maria Couch, $3,224.41; Lakrisha Rumore Ayden, $10,234.07; Tamela Humes, $11,109.23; Chenita Arnella Wiggins, $7,077.02; and Valerie Rodney: $7,301.09.
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