BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - An Independence woman has been convicted on multiple wire fraud and aggravated identity theft charges after fraudulently obtaining $150,000 from FEMA.
Renata Foreman, 38, was convicted by U.S. District Judge Shelly D. Dick after a three-day trial. Foreman obtained the money fraudulently after the historic August 2016 flood.
After the flood, Foreman submitted 55 fraudulent applications using stolen identities to obtain Disaster Unemployment Assistance administered by the Louisiana Workforce Commission.
At the trial, the jury heard evidence that Foreman kept logs and notebooks containing personal information from numerous people that she used in her scheme. Foreman submitted the fraudulent claims from multiple locations in New Orleans and surrounding areas. When she filed these claims, she was living in a federal halfway house because of her 2013 convictions for mail fraud, theft of government funds, and identity theft.
Foreman faces significant prison time and fines as a result of her conviction.
"We will continue to aggressively pursue fraudsters who are taking advantage of and exploiting vulnerable people who have been affected by devastating natural disasters," said U.S. Attorney Brandon J. Fremin. "The U.S. 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, is working diligently to root out fraudulent claims for assistance and ensure that government funds are available to those who truly are in need."
"Renata Foreman stole the identities of more than 50 victims, including deceased persons, in an attempt to fraudulently obtain over $150,000 in financial assistance from the U.S. Department of Labor's Disaster Unemployment Assistance Program. We will continue to work with our federal and state law enforcement partners to protect those benefits intended for individuals unemployed as a direct result of a major disaster," said Steve Grell, Special Agent-in-Charge, Dallas Region, of the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.