4 indicted on false FEMA claims

GULFPORT — Four people have been indicted on charges of filing false claims to collect damages for homes, apartments or condos damaged by Hurricane Katrina.

The Sun Herald reports the indictments were issued in 2006 but only recently unsealed.

The complaints involve similar allegations that the defendants were not living where they said they were when Katrina struck in 2005.

Records show Barbara Ward received more than $4,000 in disaster assistance by claiming she lived in Pass Christian. She was living in Jacksonville, Fla., according to the indictment. Ward is set for trial Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court in Gulfport.

JonJoseph S. Crump, of Lake Charles, La., is accused of receiving more than $1,000 with a false claim he was living in a housing complex in Biloxi. His trial date also is Feb. 14.

Ronald P. Broome and Angela D. Richards are each accused of claiming their primary homes were apartments in Biloxi.

Broome received more than $4,000, records show. He is set for trial Dec. 6. Court documents show Broome has asked that his trial be rescheduled because his attorney needs more time to prepare. He is represented by the federal public defender’s office.

Richards is accused of receiving more than $1,000. Court documents show she is set to plead guioty in a hearing Dec. 28.

Court documents did not show hometowns for Broome and Richards.

All four are free on unsecured bonds.

The Associated Press