Miami, Fl. – A 45-year-old Pembroke Pines woman has been charged with disaster relief fraud and other federal crimes in connection with her application and receipt of federal relief funds following Hurricane Irma.
According to allegations contained in the complaint, in September of 2017, after Hurricane Irma, Desmicia Mathis filed a fraudulent property damage claim with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“FEMA”), and received disaster and rental assistance money to which she was not entitled. Mathis used the fraudulently obtained FEMA funds and moved into a rental apartment. She utilized a stolen identity to obtain a new residence and establish utility accounts, according to the complaint.
Mathis made her initial appearance today in Fort Lauderdale before U.S. Magistrate Alicia O. Valle.
Ariana Fajardo Orshan, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, James DePalma, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General (DHS-OIG), Miami Field Office, and Rodregas Owens, Special Agent in Charge, Social Security Administration – Office of the Inspector General (SSA-OIG), Atlanta Field Division, made the announcement.
DHS–OIG and SSA-OIG investigated the case. Assistant U.S. Attorney Marc S. Anton is prosecuting the case.
A complaint is merely an accusation that contains allegations. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty in a court of law.
You may find a copy of this press release on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. You may find related court documents and information on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov, under case no. 20-mj-6441.