Baton Rouge man pleads guilty to theft of $26K in FEMA funds fro - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Baton Rouge man pleads guilty to theft of $26K in FEMA funds from 2016 flood

Source: Raycom Media Source: Raycom Media
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A Baton Rouge man has pleaded guilty to stealing $26,362 in Federal Emergency Management Agency funds following last year’s flooding, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Acting U.S. Attorney Corey Amundson said in a news release that Courtney D. Hickman, 42, entered a plea of guilty to theft of government funds on October 12. Hickman filed a fraudulent claim with FEMA for disaster assistance funds for Baton Rouge he claimed was his primary residence at the time of the flood, according to documents submitted to the court. Amundson says that at the time of the flood, Hickman was actually living somewhere else and was renting the property in question to a tenant for four months before and during the flood.

Amundson, who is also the acting Executive Director of the National Center for Disaster Fraud, issued a statement saying,

“The federal government consistently comes to the aid of individuals affected by disaster, and with the intent to return these individuals to the lives they lived before being victimized by disasters. The federal government’s efforts, however, are at times hindered by the actions of fraudsters who seek to steal disaster assistance funds that are intended for true victims. The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana, together with the National Center for Disaster Fraud and our federal, state, and local law enforcement partners, will continue to identify and prosecute those individuals who seek to steal assistance funds and affect the ability of the federal government to assist those truly in need.”

Anyone who suspects fraud involving disaster relief efforts, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll-free at (866) 720-5721 or email it to disaster@leo.gov.

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