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Jax Daily Record Tuesday, Jun. 18, 201905:10 AM EST

Jacksonville woman pleads guilty to defrauding FEMA, faces up to 30 years in prison

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She obtained $32,038 in government disaster relief after Hurricane Irma
by: Monty Zickuhr Managing Editor

A Jacksonville woman found out this week that you shouldn't file a false claim with the government for disaster relief.

Kimberly Dues, 37, pleaded guilty Thursday to disaster assistance fraud involving fraudulently obtained Federal Emergency Management Agency benefits. She could be sentenced to as many as 30 years in federal prison and payment of $32,038 in restitution.

According to court documents, in September 2017, Dues submitted an application to FEMA for disaster assistance benefits, related to Hurricane Irma, through the Individuals and Households Program.

An investigation revealed that Dues falsely claimed that her primary residence at 1714 Rutledge Ave., near Moncrief Road and Rowe Avenue in Northwest Jacksonville, was damaged by the hurricane.

Based on the purported storm damage, Dues claimed that she had to relocate and was in need of disaster assistance benefits. Because of the false statements made in her application, she fraudulently obtained $32,038 from FEMA.

Investigators found that Dues did not live at the property during the timeframe she indicated on the FEMA benefits application.

Rental property documents indicated that she had moved from the house about six months before Hurricane Irma struck Florida.

This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General. It was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Kevin Frein.

Dues is scheduled to appear before U.S. District Judge Brian Davis on Sept. 25 for sentencing.

The case is part of the U.S. Attorney’s Disaster Fraud Task Force that was established in September 2017.

Members of the public who suspect fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721.

Visit justice.gov/usao-mdfl for more information.

 

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