Nine Charged with Katrina Aid Fraud
by Kevin Caruso
October 4, 2005
Nine individuals from Bakersfield, California, have been charged with fraud for allegedly stealing Katrina relief funds associated with a Red Cross call center.
The individuals were not Red Cross employees.
The Red Cross established the Bakersfield call center for Hurricane Katrina survivors to call for their PIN numbers (which allowed them to receive relief funds via Western Union). But four of the workers at the call center provided PIN numbers to at least five friends (who were not Katrina survivors), which allowed these individuals to fraudulently obtain Red Cross funds from Western Union.
“It is beyond the pale that there are those who would seek to capitalize on the tragedy wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the generosity of so many who donated relief funds,” said U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott.
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