According to United States Attorney Dana J. Boente’s office, a Slidell woman pleaded guilty in a federal court to wire fraud on Friday April 19, 2013. Keishandra Houston, 36, admitted that she received money after wiring false earnings statements to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility in September of 2010. According to court records, the organization that made disaster assistance money available to people affected by the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, is said to have paid Houston $5,900.
According to Boente’s office, Keishandra Houston provided a fraudulent earning statement to the GCCF indicating that she had lost $8,640 because of the oil spill. Houston, who also claimed to have lost her job as a cook at a local seafood restaurant due to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon disaster, reportedly cashed the check she was issued and spent all of the money.
According to the federal statutes in this case, Keishandra Houston faces up to 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and three years of supervised release. Sentencing has been scheduled for July 25, 2013.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation has taken the lead on investigating the case, which was brought forward as part of the Eastern District of Louisiana’s partnership with the National Center for Disaster Relief.