A former assistant manager of the New Iberia field office of the Louisiana Department of Motor Vehicles pled guilty to allegations of federal disaster relief fraud, according to the Louisiana State Police Insurance Fraud and Auto Theft Unit.
The LSP worked in conjunction with the U.S. Office of Inspector General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Louisiana, during an investigation into the case of Barbara Robicheaux, 56, who pled guilty to charges of Making False Claims to FEMA, Making False Claims to the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Making False Claims to the U.S. Small Business Administration.
The joint investigation began in January 2007 after the Louisiana State Police received an anonymous complaint alleging that Barbara Robicheaux, who lived in New Iberia, had obtained a Louisiana ID card listing her home address as Delcambre, La., to fraudulently establish residency when applying for federal disaster relief.
Investigators obtained records documenting that Robicheaux had lived in New Iberia since 2002 but in the days after Hurricane Rita impacted the area, she obtained a Louisiana ID listing her residence as Delcambre. The card was issued from the OMV office in New Iberia where Robicheaux was employed at the time as an assistant manager.
Documents obtained from FEMA, USDA (Food Stamps Program) and SBA (Road Home Program) indicated that Robicheaux claimed to be living in Delcambre. By making these false applications, Robicheaux was able to obtain funding from FEMA, food stamps and a low interest loan from the Small Business Administration valued at approximately $130,009.
At the conclusion of the investigation, the case was presented to the Office for the Western District of Louisiana for consideration of prosecution. Upon notification of the U.S. Attorney’s intent to indict, Barbara Robicheaux opted to plead guilty to three counts of Making False Claims and forgo a criminal trial.
Sentencing and restitution will be determined at a later date. Robicheaux faces a maximum sentence of 5 years and/or $250,000 fine for each count.
Source: Louisiana State Police