Local man sentenced for fraud

Published 3:18 pm Friday, November 21, 2008

Corey L. Mason of Picayune, was sentenced and remanded into federal custody on Tuesday to serve 5 months in federal prison followed by 5 months in a halfway house for filing a false claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton announced Thursday.

Mason was ordered to make restitution of $8,800 to FEMA, along with $100 special assessment and community service.

Mason was living in California at the time of Katrina, but received FEMA benefits and a travel trailer. He pleaded guilty to the charge in August, 2008. In September, 2005, former Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales created the national Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, designed to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, chaired by Matthew Friedrich, acting Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, includes members from the Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, the FBI, the Federal Trade Commission, the Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, the Postal Inspector’s Office and theExecutive Office of United States Attorneys, among others.

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Pursuant to the Justice Department initiative, a local Katrina Fraud Task Force, consisting of more than 20 federal and state law enforcement agencies, was formed in the Southern District of Mississippi to pursue and prosecute individuals who engage in fraud associated with the hurricanes. If anyone has information concerning possible fraud being committed during the post-Katrina recovery effort, please call either the DHS-OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or the FBI Fraud Hotline at 1-800-225-5324.