Saturday, October 22, 2005
© Copyright 2014
Gwinnett Daily Post
LAWRENCEVILLE - A 35-year-old Lawrenceville woman has been arrested on federal charges alleging she claimed to be a New Orleans resident and received thousands of dollars in Hurricane Katrina relief funds.
Jozell Lois Dickerson was not a resident of New Orleans when the hurricane struck, said Patrick Crosby, spokesman for the U.S. Attorney's Office. Authorities believe Dickerson used two different New Orleans addresses and the Social Security number of another person to file within a week's time two false claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Dickerson received two $2,000 electronic funds transfers on Sept. 12 and Sept. 16.
"To date, U.S. attorneys across the country have brought more than 40 federal prosecutions as part of the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force," U.S. Attorney David Nahmias said. "We cannot tolerate this sort of fraud, which steals taxpayer dollars intended to help rebuild the lives of the thousands of real victims of these terrible natural disasters."
This is the second such Katrina fraud case prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Atlanta and "easily the largest," Crosby said.
Dickerson had a first appearance in federal court Friday on charges of aggravated identity theft, stealing money from the U.S. government, making false claims and using a false Social Security number. She faces a minimum of two years in prison for the aggravated identity theft charge and an added penalty of up to 20 years in federal prison on the other charges. She also could be fined more than $1 million, Crosby said.
A bond hearing is scheduled for Monday.
The case was investigated by the newly created Hurricane Katrina Task Force, which is a U.S. Attorney-led coalition of federal agencies designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster related federal crimes such as charity fraud and insurance fraud.