Monday, December 19, 2005

Mississippian Indicted for Katrina Fraud

JACKSON, Miss., Dec. 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- United States Attorney Dunn Lampton announced today the Indictment of Gary G. Graves of Hattiesburg, Miss., for making a false claim to FEMA for hurricane relief funds. According to the Indictment, Graves claimed as his primary residence, a property located in Taylorsville, Miss., when Graves had been evicted from the residence prior to August 29, 2005. The maximum penalty for Making a False Claim to FEMA is up to 5 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

This matter was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

In September, 2005, Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force -- chaired by Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division -- includes members from the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the Postal Inspector's Office and the Executive Office of United States Attorneys, among others.

Pursuant to the Justice Department initiative, a local Katrina Fraud Task Force was formed. Recognizing the significance of this event, nineteen federal and state law enforcement agencies have come together to jointly pursue and prosecute individuals who file false and fraudulent claims. The joint task force has also been working with county and local law enforcement in this effort.

If anyone has information concerning possible fraud being committed during the post-Katrina recovery effort, call either the DHS-OIG Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or the FBI Fraud Hotline at 800-225-5324.


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