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Archive for Wednesday, October 5, 2005

Nine charged with fraud in Katrina funds case

October 5, 2005

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— Nine people in the Bakersfield, Calif., area have been charged with wire fraud in a scheme that siphoned off Red Cross funds intended for victims of Hurricane Katrina, the FBI said Tuesday.

Four of those arrested were contract workers at a Red Cross national call center in Bakersfield, said Lawrence Brown, first assistant U.S. attorney in Sacramento, Calif. The other five were friends who picked up relief checks they weren't entitled to, he said.

The call center fields calls from Katrina victims.

Once callers are determined eligible for relief, they are given pin numbers to claim money from Western Union outlets nationwide, FBI Agent Ryan D. McDougal said.

"The (four) employees figured they could create sham victim accounts," Brown said. "They issued pin numbers."

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