Millette Womack Pleads Guilty to Defrauding Gulf Coast Claims Facility
|U.S. Attorney’s Office June 12, 2013|
Millette Womack, age 38, a resident of New Orleans, Louisiana, pled guilty in federal court today before U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval to conspiracy to commit wire fraud relating to a fraudulent application she made to the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) for financial assistance in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, announced U.S. Attorney Dana J. Boente.
According to court documents, the GCCF made disaster assistance money available to individuals and businesses affected by the oil spill resulting from the Deepwater Horizon explosion. The GCCF required individuals to verify loss of income. On October 24, 2010, the GCCF received Womack’s online claim form seeking an emergency six-month payment in the amount of $10,000, wherein Womack falsely stated she lost earnings as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Documentation in support of Womack’s claim included copies of fraudulent earning statements indicating that prior to the oil spill, Womack had worked as a line cook at Don’s Seafood Hut Restaurant & Oyster Bar, when, in fact, she was never so employed. As a result of these false representations and documentation contained in the claim, the GCCF paid Womack approximately $13,100.
Womack faces a maximum term of imprisonment of five years, a fine of $250,000, and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. Sentencing is set for September 18, 2013.
This case was brought as part of this District’s partnership with the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), a nationwide initiative to protect available funds and assistance for those victims of both natural and man-made disasters such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, and the recent Gulf oil spill. If you have knowledge of fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, you can contact the NCDF by either calling the hotline at (866) 720-5721, faxing (225) 334-4707, e-mailing at email@example.com, or in writing to National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, 70821-4909.
The case was investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Loan “Mimi” Nguyen.