Man goes to prison for false FEMA claim

TYLER, TX - A 45-year-old Jacksonville man has been sentenced to federal prison for hurricane related fraud.

Joe Maston Murray was sentenced to 6 months in federal prison on Tuesday for making a false claim to the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA). Murray was also ordered to pay $2,000 in restitution to FEMA.

According to information presented in court, back in 2005, Murray applied for disaster assistance with FEMA. In his application, he lied about having been a resident of New Orleans, when Hurricane Katrina hit. As a result of his application, Murray received a disaster assistance payment of $2,000.  An investigation revealed that the address in New Orleans that Murray submitted as his residence did not exist and that he was not a resident of New Orleans.

The U.S. Department of Justice created the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force to deter, investigate and prosecute disaster-related federal crimes such as charity fraud, identity theft, procurement fraud and insurance fraud.