Four Sentenced For Disaster Unemployment Theft
BATON ROUGE, LA (May 5, 2008) -- Four Zachary, Louisiana residents charged in connection with
Hurricane Katrina disaster fraud were sentenced April 29 by U.S. District Court Judge John V. Parker
for their part in a conspiracy to defraud the disaster unemployment program of over $150,000. One
hundred forty-three people have been charged in the Middle District of Louisiana with violations related
to hurricane disaster relief funds.
LATASHA WHITFIELD, 32, was sentenced to 54 months in prison for mail fraud and aggravated
identity theft. She was also ordered to serve a three-year term of supervised release after her
imprisonment, and to pay $150,223 in restitution to the Louisiana Department of Labor (LDOL), which
runs the federal disaster unemployment assistance (DUA) program;
LAKEITHA WRIGHT, 23, was sentenced to four months in prison followed by three years of
supervised release for wire fraud and illegal use of a Social Security number, which includes four
months of home detention with electronic monitoring by probation officers, the costs for which she
must pay. She was also ordered to pay $61,347 in restitution.
The other defendants are DOMONEIK WHITFIELD, 22, sentenced to five years probation, four
months of home detention, and ordered to pay $32,732 in restitution for wire fraud and illegal use of a
Social Security number, and TONI WHITFIELD, 44, sentenced to five years probation for access
device fraud and ordered to pay $7,742 in restitution.
All four were originally charged in a forty-one count indictment by a federal grand jury charging that
from November 4, 2005, through June 25, 2006, they knowingly conspired to file at least fifty
fraudulent claims with the LDOL, seeking DUA payments of over $120,000.
The case resulted from an investigation conducted by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of
Inspector General, the Social Security Administration’s Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Postal
Inspection Service, the FBI, the Louisiana State Police, and the Zachary Police Department.
Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force, created in September, 2005, is designed to deter, investigate and
prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and
insurance fraud. The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force includes the FBI, the U.S. Inspectors General
community, the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, the Executive Office for United
States Attorneys and others.
Anyone suspecting criminal activity involving disaster assistance programs can make an anonymous
report by calling the toll-free Hurricane Relief Fraud Hotline, 1-866-720-5721, 24 hours a day, seven
days a week, until further notice. Information can also be emailed to the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task
Force at HKFTF@leo.gov or sent by snail mail, with as many details as possible, to Hurricane Katrina
Fraud Task Force, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909