Insurance Brief: Arkansas Man Sentenced for Defrauding FEMA

September 7, 2010

A resident of Fort Smith, Arkansas has been sentenced to 18 months in prison for lying to FEMA in order to receive disaster aid meant for Hurricane Katrina victims, the Insurance Journal reports.

In addition to the prison sentence, United States District Judge Robert Dawson also ordered Anthony Owens, Sr., age 46, to pay restitution of almost $11,000.

Last December, Owens reached a plea agreement with the prosecution, and pleaded guilty to filing a false claim with FEMA. He admitted that he told FEMA officials that he was living in an apartment in New Orleans when Hurricane Katrina struck the city five years ago. FEMA records show that Owens received $10,780.

The truth that eventually came to light was that the address where Owens claimed to live was fictitious. In fact, he’d never been a New Orleans resident, and was nowhere near the city when Katrina hit.

Owens’ attorney was unavailable for comment.