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2 Saucier women arrested in Katrina fraud cases

Two Saucier women are charged with multiple counts alleging they made false statements to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for disaster assistance after Hurricane Katrina.

Teresa M. Baumgart and Mandi D. Ely appeared Wednesday before U.S. Magistrate John M. Roper in Gulfport and were released on $25,000 bond each to await arraignment in federal court on Feb. 26. The charges carry maximum penalties of 25 years in prison and $500,000 in fines.

Indictments say the women claimed to live at neighboring addresses along Mississippi 67 in Saucier when the hurricane hit, though they did not live there. It also says both women claimed their homes and personal possessions were damaged.

Indictments also say Baumgart received $6,914 from FEMA in four wire transfers between Sept. 12, 2005, and Feb. 22, 2006, and Ely received $4,358 in wire transfers on Sept. 12, 2005 and Oct. 18, 2005.