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Six individuals face charges for defrauding Louisiana Road Home Program

NationalMortgageProfessional.com
Jan 28, 2010

Six Louisiana individuals face various federal charges involving fraud against the Louisiana Road Home Program following Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force investigations, announced U. S. Attorney Jim Letten. Jacqueline Foreman-Pottinger, a resident of Metairie, La., was charged via a Bill of Information with one count of theft of government funds. According to the Bill, Pottinger applied for and received a Road Home Grant of $148, 078.80 for a rental property she owned on Florida Boulevard in New Orleans. It is alleged that Pottinger fraudulently represented that she was a full-time resident of the Florida Boulevard property, when she had been renting the property to tenants at the time of the storm. If convicted, Foreman-Pottinger faces a possible maximum sentence of 10 years imprisonment, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The case was investigated by the U.S. Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD), Office of Inspector General, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Dan Friel. Raymond K. Cuccia, a Kenner, La. resident, was charged in a one-count Superseding Bill of Information with theft of government funds in connection with his 2007 application for Louisiana Road Home Program funds. According to the Superseding Bill of Information, prior to and during the time of Hurricane Katrina, Cuccia resided in his primary residence in Kenner, La. It is alleged that in 2007, Cucci applied for funds from the Louisiana Road Home Program, claiming that a second home he owned, located in Slidell, La., was his primary residence at the time of the storm. According to court documents, as a result of his application, Cucci received approximately $64,320.00 in Louisiana Road Home Program funds to which he was not entitled. If convicted, CUCCIA faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The case was investigated by the United States Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Matt Chester. Eva Baptiste, a New Orleans resident, was charged in a one-count Bill of Information for theft of government funds, in connection with her 2007 application for Louisiana Road Home Program funds. According to the Bill of Information, prior to and during the time of Hurricane Katrina, Baptiste resided in her primary residence on North Roman Street in New Orleans. It is alleged that in 2007, Baptiste applied for funds from the Louisiana Road Home Program, claiming that a second home she owned, located in the 1500 block of Lesseps Street in New Orleans, was her primary residence at the time of the storm. According to court documents, as a result of her application, Baptiste received approximately $110,420 in Louisiana Road Home Program funds to which she was not entitled. If convicted, EVA BAPTISTE faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The investigation was conducted by the U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Matt Chester. Pearl Dileo, a New Orleans resident, was charged in a one-count Indictment by a Federal Grand Jury for theft of government funds, in connection with her 2007 application for Louisiana Road Home Program funds. According to the Indictment, prior to and during the time of Hurricane Katrina, Dileo resided in her primary residence on St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. It is alleged that in 2006, Dileo applied for funds from the Louisiana Road Home Program, claiming that a second home she owned, located in Mandeville, Louisiana, was her primary residence at the time of the storm. According to court documents, as a result of her application, Dileo received approximately $149,925 in Louisiana Road Home Program funds to which she was not entitled. If convicted, Dileo faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The case was investigated by the U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General. The prosecution is handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Matt Chester. Ryant Price, a resident of Saint Rose, La., was charged today in a one-count indictment by a Federal Grand Jury for theft of government funds, in connection with his 2006 application for Louisiana Road Home Program funds. According to the indictment, prior to and during the time of Hurricane Katrina, Price resided in his primary residence on River Road in Saint Rose, La. It is alleged that in 2006, Price applied for funds from the Louisiana Road Home Program, claiming that a second home he owned, located in New Orleans, was his primary residence at the time of the storm. According to court documents, as a result of his application, Price received approximately $105,000 in Louisiana Road Home Program funds to which he was not entitled. If convicted, Price faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. The case was investigated by the U. S. Department of Housing & Urban Development, Office of the Inspector General, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U. S. Attorney Spiro G. Latsis. Shawntell Manuel, a resident of New Orleans, was charged in a one count Bill of Information for theft of government funds in connection her loan application submitted to the Small Business Administration. According to the Bill, from October, 2005 through September, 2006, Manuel received $123,800 in Katrina related disaster loan proceeds from the Small Business Administration. The Bill of Information charges Manuel submitted false and fraudulent documentation to the SBA in support of her disaster loan for her businesses: the Big Dog Barber Shop and B&D Barber College. If convicted, Manuel faces a maximum of 10 years imprisonment, a $250,000 fine, and three years supervised release following any term of imprisonment. This investigation was conducted by Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General. The prosecution is being handled by Assistant U. S. Attorney Julia Evans. Tom Luke, Special Agent in Charge, HUD OIG, commenting on the cases stated: “HUD IG together with the FBI, SBA IG and the U. S. Attorney’s Office, has accomplished much over the past 18 months. There have been over 300 complaints filed with our office, and agents have reviewed each and every complaint, coordinating with LRA/ICF to determine the validity of the complaints. As of today, we are still averaging 25 complaints a month. Each complaint requires investigative time and effort on the part of the agents and the U. S. Attorney’s Office in order to ensure that a homeowner who has already been a victim of Katrina, is not accused of a crime based on mistake or error. To date, we have prevented $2,644,446 in Road Home grants being paid to individuals who have attempted to obtain funds they were not entitled to, and have recovered and returned to the LRA over $300,000 in grant funds that were paid to individuals who were not entitled; and as reported earlier, the indictment of individuals involved in the First American Title company scam which lead to $600,000 in grant funds not being lost to fraud.” U. S. Attorney Letten reiterated that indictments or a bills of information are merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendants must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.   For more information, visit http://neworleans.fbi.gov.
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