1 pleads guilty, five arrested in Katrina fraud case

Published 7:33 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2006

One man has pleaded guilty to filing a false Hurricane Katrina claim and five others have been arrested for fraud against the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Robert A. Martin, of Gulfport, pleaded guilty to submitting a false claim for disaster assistance funds in the wake of Katrina and will be sentenced in federal court in February, the Department of Justice said Tuesday in a news release.

At the time Katrina hit the Mississippi Gulf Coast Martin was at the Harrison County Correctional Facility.

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Yet, Martin received $5,864 from FEMA by providing a false address in Gulfport and claiming damage at that property.

He faces up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Five more Gulf Coast residents have been accused of defrauding FEMA. Authorities said all five provided false addresses in Gulfport or Biloxi, then made claims on those addresses.

All were indicted on Nov. 7 and arrested Tuesday.

Shirann M. Everett of Gulfport is accused of receiving $19,921.13 after filing a false claim.

The other four accused of the crime are all from Biloxi and received less than $6,000.

They are Curtis Morrow ($4,358), Carolin Morrow ($5,648), Ronald Nguyen ($4,358) and Greg J. Parish ($4,358).

They face prison sentences ranging from 40 to 80 years and fines ranging from $1 million to $1.5 million.

The arrests were made with the help of the national Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, created in September 2005 after the Aug. 29, 2005, storm devastated Gulf Coast communities in Mississippi and Louisiana.

The group is designed to investigate and prosecute crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and identity theft.