Ex-FEMA Worker Charged With Stealing Katrina Relief Money


A former FEMA worker and her cousin have been charged in Mississippi with stealing $721,000 in disaster relief money, including allegedly diverting $58,000 directly from three victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Lashonda Booker, who worked in FEMA’s Biloxi office processing Katrina disaster assistance claims, is accused of conspiring with her cousin to divert FEMA funds to bank accounts Booker controlled, according to court documents filed by the U.S. Attorney Jan. 8.Booker allegedly accessed victim information on a FEMA disaster database and then her cousin, Peggy Hilton, allegedly called FEMA to have the victim’s bank account information changed.

The scheme, which was first reported by the AP, allegedly lasted from October 2005 through last May.