Feds: FEMA applications faked after 2016 Louisiana flood

Local News

FILE- In this Aug. 13, 2016 aerial file photo, the LSU campus is flooded due to heavy rain in Baton Rouge, La. Two Louisiana homeowners who sued the Trump administration over federal policies that stalled grants for 2016 flood victims have dropped their lawsuit. The administration has since released regulations allowing the homeowners to receive aid.
(Patrick Dennis/The Advocate via AP, File)

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — Ten Louisiana residents are accused of collecting about $6,000 each by faking applications for disaster benefits for car damage after floods in August 2016.

All lived outside the disaster area but filed applications saying their cars were totaled by floods in the disaster area, Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook said in a news release Thursday.

They also submitted estimates, ranging from $6,291 to $8,736, from nonexistent car repair shops, he said. Five were paid $5,999 and five received $6,000, according to the news release.

Separate indictments charged each with one count of fraud in connection with major disaster or emergency benefits and one of theft of government money or property, according to the statement.

Prosecutors said all live in St. Mary Parish but claimed car damage in Iberia or Lafayette parish, which were among 12 parishes declared major disaster areas for the period from Aug. 11-31, 2016.

FEMA was authorized to provide transportation assistance for repair or replacement of a primary vehicle damaged by the disaster.

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