New Port Richey man encounters FEMA fraud after Hurricane Irma

Someone else put in a claim for his home

NEW PORT RICHEY, Fla. - Mike Fletcher’s mobile home survived Hurricane Irma.  But his New Port Richey neighborhood got hit hard.

“I wondered if a small tornado came through.”

Some of Mike’s neighbors registered for FEMA assistance, so he went online to see if he was eligible.

“When I put my address in it came up that there was already an account existing and to go ahead and log in.”

It turns out, someone else filed a claim on Mike’s home. He later found out FEMA sent whoever it was $500.

“It really bothers me. I almost feel violated by it.”

FEMA said 2.1 million Floridians have registered for Hurricane Irma assistance. And while they say they don’t think fraud is wide spread, it does happen.

They said anyone intentionally trying to defraud the government is taking money away from those who really need help.

People caught trying to make a false claim can be charged with a felony and face 10 years in prison and $250,000 in fines.

Mike is worried there could be more trouble from all this.

“Gosh only knows how many people this happens to. So it’s not only fraud. It’s identity theft.”

Mike filed a report with FEMA’s fraud division and is hopeful they’ll track down the person responsible.

Those still in real need can apply for assistance on FEMA’s website: https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance.

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