Feds: 10 St. Mary Parish residents accused of faking application for FEMA disaster benefits


The logo of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is seen at its headquarters August 27, 2011 in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

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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