BATON ROUGE – Staffers of the Louisiana Workforce Commission (LWC) led the charge in identifying a woman’s attempts to defraud the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of more than $150,000 in connection to the August 2016 floods.
The U.S. Department of Justice says 37-year-old Renata Foreman faces six counts of wire fraud and aggravated identity theft for allegedly using multiple stolen identities to submit some 55 claims for disaster unemployment assistance (DUA).
The funds were designed to support residents who lost employment as a result of the flood and were processed by the LWC Unemployment Insurance (UI) Benefit Analysis Team in coordination with its Technical Support and Quality Control teams.
UI employee Christina first noticed suspicious activity in Sept. 2016, when she identified 10 claims that appeared to have been filed by the same individual. Upon further examination, UI investigator Fred found additional similarities among the claims, including that several of the Social Security numbers belonged to deceased individuals. The LWC alerted the Office of the Inspector General of its internal investigation into the suspicious activity, leading to Foreman’s formal indictment.
“This agency has zero tolerance for anyone seeking to capitalize on the misfortune of others, said LWC Executive Director Ava Dejoie. “Our employees know all too well the distress and devastation that ensued following the 2016 floods, as many of them suffered personal losses of their own. In the wake of this latest revelation, we applaud the swift actions taken by our staff members to bring this individual to justice.”
About The Louisiana Workforce Commission
The Louisiana Workforce Commission is an agency of state government that administers programs designed to enhance workforce growth and provide family-sustaining jobs for Louisiana residents. The commission monitors employment, administers unemployment compensation and tax funds, provides training resources for employers and employees and oversees worker compensation benefits. The agency also gathers and supplies information on the labor market and occupational sectors in Louisiana.
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