A scheme to collect more than $150,000 in federal disaster assistance following the August 2016 floods led a woman to the slammer Thursday.
38-year-old Renata Foreman of Independence, LA was charged with multiple wire fraud and aggravated identity theft counts after a three-day trial in U.S. District Court.
Foreman’s scheme, which included submitting 55 claims for Disaster Unemployment Assistance (DUA) by using stolen identities, was uncovered by employees of the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC), which administered the federal assistance program.
Within a month of the flood disaster, an LWC employee reviewing DUA claims noticed suspicious activity on a number of claims, with evidence that one person had filed multiple claims.
A second LWC employee who specializes in fraud investigations discovered additional similarities among the claims, with several Social Security numbers used belonging to deceased individuals.
This one case represents half of the fraudulent DUA cases we uncovered following the catastrophic flood event of 2016,” said LWC Executive Director Ava Dejoie.
Thanks to the sharp eyes of our trained staff and the strong cooperation among the various units of our agency, we were able to help right this wrong and stop this individual from taking advantage of a disaster that affected so many.”