• 50°

Four indicted on federal fraud charges in Katrina debris removal

Four people, including a Florida contractor, have been indicted on charges of falsifying records of debris clean up from Hurricane Katrina and billing the federal government $716,677 for the work.

Those charged in the indictment announced Thursday in Gulfport are Allen Kitto, 24, of Dundee, Fla., whose company was a subcontractor for debris cleanup in Pearl River County; and Clinton K. Miller, 28, of Carriere; Devin Chuter, 23, and Lauren Robertson, 23, both of Picayune.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said Miller, Chuter and Robertson worked as debris removal monitors.

According to the indictment, Chuter and Robertson allegedly signed false debris load slips misrepresenting that debris was loaded onto trucks on the roadway when they were not present at the loading site. Lampton said in most instances, they created and signed the false load slips at their homes.

The false debris load slips misrepresented that certain trucks, belonging to and under the control of Kitto, were hauling loads of debris at a time when the trucks identified on the debris load slips were not in operation on the roadway or at the dump site listed, Lampton said.

The false debris load slips also misrepresented that loads of debris were delivered to a designated dump site in Pearl River County when no debris was delivered to the dump site.

Lampton said Miller allegedly collected the false load slips from the others and submitted them to the debris monitoring company which would submit the false load slips to the prime contractor for payment to Kitto.

The indictment also charges that Kitto, in an effort to conceal the conspiracy, would deposit the funds into a bank account opened in the name of one of his employees and then write a check to an unindicted coconspirator who would then pay Kitto and Miller.

Miller would then pay Chuter and Robertson for completing and signing the false load slips, according to the indictment.

The four were charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. If convicted, they could be sentenced to a maximum five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.