Contact: Kathy Colvin, 214-659-8600 Web: http://WWW.USDOJ.GOV/USAO/TXN
DALLAS, Dec. 21 /U.S. Newswire/ -- United States Attorney Richard B.
Roper announced that Lakietha Hall was arrested Wednesday morning by
federal authorities in Dallas on charges outlined in a federal
criminal complaint filed on December 16, 2005 and unsealed this
afternoon. The complaint charges Hall with knowingly and willfully
stealing money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and
knowingly using, without lawful authority, the means of identification
of another person during and in relation to a felony, that is, the
theft of public funds. A search warrant was also executed this morning
at Hall's residence and more than $10,000 in cash was seized.
Hall, age 35, made her initial appearance in federal Court this
afternoon before the Honorable Paul D. Stickney, United States
Magistrate Judge, who found her not to be an immediate danger to the
communith and released her on bond with conditions.
According to the affidavit filed in support of the criminal complaint
and search warrant, Lakietha Hall made numerous fraudulent claims for
hurricane disaster relief. As part of her scheme, Hall would file the
fraudulent claims over the telephone and online with FEMA and the
Louisiana Department of Labor by using the identities, including the
names and social security numbers, of other persons without their
knowledge or consent. Hall would often use the identities of other
persons with the surname "Hall." Hall would provide FEMA and the
Louisiana Department of Labor with a mailing address that she
controlled. Hall has received approximately $65,000 in fraudulently
obtained Hurricane Katrina disaster benefits and there is no evidence
to indicate that Lakietha Hall has ever lived in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Daniel S. Cortez, U.S. Postal Inspector In Charge of the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service, Fort Worth Division, said, "The mission of the
United States Postal Inspection Service is to protect the nation's
mail system from criminal misuse. Any type of fraud, especially
charity, identity theft, insurance and government -- related to
Hurricanes Katrina and Rita are a priority for the Postal Inspection
Service. When a case is identified our agency will move quickly to
disrupt the criminal activity perpertrated through this type of mail
Gordon S. Heddell, Inspector General, Department of Labor, said,
"Fraud schemes in the programs that assist the victims of the natural
disasters are unconscionable. This case demonstrates the commitment of
federal law enforcement and state workforce agencies to work together
to protect these programs from fraud. We will continue to work closely
with our state and federal partners to uncover identity theft schemes
and fraud in the unemployment insurance system."
U.S. Attorney Roper praised the investigative efforts of the
Department of Labor -- Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service, the Department of Homeland Security -- Office of
Inspector General and the Louisiana Department of Labor. The case is
being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Tammy Reno.