10 St. Mary Parish residents under federal indictment for FEMA disaster assistance fraud


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LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) — A federal grand jury has indicted 10 St. Mary Parish residents for fraudulently applying for FEMA disaster benefits after the August 2016 floods, according to Acting U.S. Attorney Alexander Van Hook.

Each of the 10 allegedly submitted fraudulent claims that their vehicles sustained flood damages and that those vehicles were their primary means of transportation. Also in each case, they submitted repair estimates from repair shops that did not exist, according to Van Hook.

While St. Mary Parish was not included in the federal disaster declaration for the floods, each of the 10 instead claimed their vehicles sustained damages in Lafayette and Iberia parishes.

The following residents were indicted on nearly identical charges, including one count of fraud in connection with major disaster emergency benefits, one count of theft of government property or money, and one count of fraudulent repair estimates resulting in disbursement of varying amounts to each defendant:

  • Brittany Nicole Hawkins, 29, of Franklin
  • Shannan Latreice Johnson, 45, of Franklin
  • Tasha Jesse Louis, 39, of Franklin
  • Jarnell Wayne Payne (a/k/a Jernell W. Payne), 43, of Franklin
  • Kevin Callery, 54, of Baldwin
  • Leo Green, Jr., 55, of Franklin
  • Robert Joseph Johnson, Jr., 33, of Patterson
  • Derrick Shawn Kirt, 44, of Franklin
  • Jarmaine Scott Thomas, Jr., 25, of Franklin
  • Johnathan D. Wilson, 38, of Franklin

An indictment is merely an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you have any information to report concerning potential FEMA fraud, please call the National Center for Disaster Fraud at 1-866-720-5721.

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