Katrina Evacuees Facing Fraud Charges

By: Jennifer Ryan
By: Jennifer Ryan

Those who were working with a Mississippi family displaced by Hurricane Katrina say they didn't suspect anything at first. The news came as a shock to many who offered a helping hand to the Mississippi family.

All five are accused of scamming the system by forging checks from the American Red Cross.

Chris Floyd, the executive director of the local Tallahassee American Red Cross Chapter, says, "They altered order of $305 for $1,305 and were able to cash it for $1,305."

Floyd says the process went undetected for two weeks. Witnesses say the family lived lavishly at the Hilton Hotel where they doled out cash and even shared the wealth.

One anonymous witness tells WCTV, "They were buying rounds of alcohol; the kids started wearing expensive clothes that I can't even afford."

The anonymous witness says he befriended the family during a business trip in Tallahassee, and he too offered to help the evacuees.

"We gave them our calling cards trying to help them out," the witness said.

Leon County investigators say it's not uncommon to have people cheat the system. Investigators say this case is ongoing, and they expect more arrests to follow.


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