Covington woman charged with FEMA fraud
Press Release from the U.S. Attorney's Office:
NEW ORLEANS – U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser announced that KELLY GAUTHIER, age 48, a resident of Covington, Louisiana, was charged on July 28, 2020 with theft of government funds.
According to the Bill of Information, GAUTHIER filed an application with the Department of Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) on or about March 14, 2016, following severe storms and flooding across Louisiana. GAUTHIER claimed that she needed assistance due to her ownership and occupancy of a home where she was living. In order to show her purported ownership of the home, GAUTHIER submitted fraudulent supporting documentation. GAUTHIER was issued a total of $29,075.56 in FEMA assistance, including assistance for home repairs, rental assistance, transportation, and personal property.
GAUTHIER is charged in the Bill of Information with one count of theft of government funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641. The maximum penalties that may be imposed upon conviction are up to ten years imprisonment; a fine of $250,000; up to three years of supervised release; and a $100 mandatory special assessment.
U.S. Attorney Peter G. Strasser praised the work of the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, for its work in investigating this case. U.S. Attorney Strasser reiterated that a Bill of Information is merely an accusation and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Shirin Hakimzadeh.