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11 people charged with fraudulently applying, receiving FEMA benefits, according to officials

Hook said each application for disaster assistance was submitted on behalf of each defendant...
Hook said each application for disaster assistance was submitted on behalf of each defendant claiming their vehicle sustained flood damage in Iberia and Lafayette Parishes in Louisiana, when each of them was a resident of St. Mary Parish, which was not included as a designated parish for assistance.
Published: Jul. 22, 2021 at 3:30 PM CDT
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Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - On Thursday, a federal grand jury returned 11 separate indictments charging 11 individuals with fraudulently applying for and receiving disaster benefits from FEMA, according to Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Louisiana Alexander C. Van Hook.

Severe flooding impacted south Louisiana in August 2016 and a Presidential Disaster Declaration was issued on August 14, 2016, under the authority of the Robert T. Stafford Disaster Relief and Emergency Assistance Act, according to Hook.

Hook says the incident period covered August 11, 2016, through August 31, 2016, and FEMA was authorized to provide transportation assistance for the repair or replacement of a primary vehicle damaged by the disaster.

The indictments allege that on certain dates between September 26, 2016, and November 11, 2016, each of the defendants, acting in concert with others, made false statements and representations to FEMA in an application for transportation benefits and provided certain documentation required by FEMA to process the claim in connection with the Presidential Disaster Declaration for the Louisiana Severe Storms and Flooding, according to Hook.

Hook said each application for disaster assistance was submitted on behalf of each defendant claiming their vehicle sustained flood damage in Iberia and Lafayette Parishes in Louisiana, when each of them was a resident of St. Mary Parish, which was not included as a designated parish for assistance.

The indictments further allege that each defendant submitted a signed letter to FEMA stating the subject vehicle belonged to the defendant, was their only means of transportation, and was no longer operable, according to Hook.

In each case, the repair estimates submitted by each defendant, which ranged from $6,215 to $9,042, were all from repair shops that did not exist, according to Hook.

The Western District has issued a list of defendants and the charges they face:

Defendant NameCharges
Dwayne Clark, 49, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $6,000 to defendant
Roshawn Lewis, 31, New Iberia, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $6,000 to defendant
Michelle Annette Kirt, 52, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $6,000 to defendant
Darius Juandre Stansbury, 30, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $5,999 to defendant
Keshawn Alonzo Gray, 24, Berwick, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $5,999 to defendant
Kieshondra Monique Lovely, 41, Lake Charles, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $6,000 to defendant
Juanita Dugas, 58, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $6,000 to defendant
Nicole Gibson, 51, Garden City, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $5,999 to defendant
Gail Nelson, 65, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $5,999 to defendant
Michell Antoinette Fernandez, 40, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $5,999 to defendant
Eric Joseph Daniels, 37, Franklin, Louisiana• Fraud in Connection with Major Disaster or Emergency Benefits – one count • Theft of Government Money or Property – one count • Fraudulent repair estimate resulted in disbursement of $5,999 to defendant

If you have any information to report concerning potential FEMA fraud, the Western District asks that you call the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721.

This investigation is ongoing and is being conducted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General.

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