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North Carolina woman charged with disaster relief fraud

In the aftermath of a natural disaster, many people in North Carolina and across the country are unsure about to whom to turn for help as they rebuild their lives. If a natural disaster is declared, some people may be able to seek relief from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, or FEMA. Unfortunately, a woman is now accused of fraud after seeking such assistance following Hurricane Matthew.

A few days after Hurricane Matthew devastated North Carolina, President Obama declared a major emergency. Reports indicate that a 50-year-old woman requested relief the next day over the phone. At that time she was awarded funds for rental assistance, critical needs and personal property.

Additionally, FEMA allegedly gave her over $11,000 from Jan. 2017 to Jan. 2018 in rental assistance. However, federal prosecutors claim that the documents she submitted to obtain these funds were fraudulent. As a result, a 15-count indictment was handed down against her. If convicted of the charges against her, she could spend up to 30 years in prison followed by supervised released, face a $250,000 fine and be forced to pay restitution.

Most people who have faced criminal charges in North Carolina likely know of the uncertainty of doing so with little to no legal experience. This may be especially true in fraud cases that can be especially complex. Because of the severity of the charges against her, the woman will likely want to carefully weigh the accusations against her before determining how best to respond to them. An experienced criminal defense attorney can ensure that she is fully informed about her options.

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