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Lakeland woman found guilty of Hurricane Irma relief fraud

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Posted at 5:17 AM, Nov 22, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-22 05:16:59-05

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — A Florida woman has been convicted of fraudulently obtaining Hurricane Irma disaster relief money.

Court records show that 37-year-old Karen Latrice Houston was convicted by a jury in Tampa federal court this week of three counts of theft of government funds. She faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.

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Investigators say Houston filed a false application with the Federal Emergency Management Agency in September 2017, days after Hurricane Irma hit Florida, to obtain disaster relief benefits. She falsely claimed that a Lakeland mobile home where she lived was damaged in the storm, but she had actually been evicted from the mobile home park earlier that year.

The fraudulent application led to Houston receiving $21,875.57 in FEMA funds.

Houston was indicted this past May.