Four Beaumont men indicted for hurricane fraud

Marilyn Tennissen Sep. 6, 2007, 11:47am

Four Beaumont men have been indicted for making false statements to FEMA to obtain hurricane assistance.

Demasters Lee Sam, 42, Demarcus Lee Sam, 40, Demitri Lee Davis ,44, and Wilyum Henderson, 49, were indicted by a federal grand jury Sept. 6, U.S. Attorney John Ratcliffe announced in a press release.

According to the indictments, beginning Oct. 4, 2005, each defendant allegedly filed a claim with FEMA in which they requested Disaster Housing and Individual Assistance for losses they reportedly suffered from Hurricane Rita for the same property, although they did not suffer those losses. Each received $2,000 in assistance as a result of their allegedly fictitious claims.

If convicted, each faces up to five years in federal prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

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 of the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and the Executive Office for United States Attorneys, among others.

These cases are being investigated by the United States Postal Service and the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Randall L. Fluke.

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