Orlando, Florida – United States Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez announces the return of an indictment charging Steven Rembert (48, Orange County) with disaster assistance fraud related to Hurricane Irma. If convicted, Rembert faces a maximum penalty of 30 years in federal prison, plus payment of restitution to the United States.
According to the indictment, in September 2017, Rembert falsified records concerning his primary residence when submitting an application for assistance to the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Individuals and Households Program for Hurricane Irma.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has committed one or more violations of federal criminal law, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case is part of the United States Attorney’s Disaster Fraud Task Force, which was announced in September 2017. This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security – Office of Inspector General, with assistance from the Orange County Sheriff’s Office and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Terry B. Livanos.
Members of the public who suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll-free at (866) 720-5721 or complete the online complaint form by visiting www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/webform/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.