MIAMI – Four months after a string of hurricanes ravaged sections of Florida, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (search) remains under attack — for giving out too much money.
Critics say the agency used bad information to justify handing out millions of dollars in damage claims, including thousands of checks delivered to Miami Dade County (search).
"There was no significant weather pattern in Miami Dade at the time there was $30 million distributed to the people," said U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler (search), D-Fla.
The eye of Hurricane Frances (search) missed Miami by more than 100 miles. FEMA checks, however, paid for more than 5,000 new televisions, 1,000 microwaves and nearly $8 million worth of storm-related rent.
"FEMA inspectors found damages in Miami Dade. Private insurance and their adjusters found damage in Miami Dade," said Joe McIntyre, a FEMA spokesman.
FEMA officials originally said they used weather charts from the government's National Weather Service that showed 85-mile-per-hour winds. Government meteorologists say the charts weren't theirs and their information shows winds topped out at 53 miles per hour in Miami Dade.
"The director of FEMA has failed to acknowledge the mistakes, continue to allow false payments to be made and then has used false information from the weather services to justify an absurd distribution process," Wexler said.
While FEMA has since retracted the charts, officials still say most of the claims are valid and tropical force winds caused the damage. They add that all of Florida was declared a disaster area even before the storm hit.
Nonetheless, FEMA's former director, Joe Allbaugh, said the agency will pursue folks who cheat the system.
"The investigative process is one that follows the disbursement of the money," Allbaugh said.
Click in the box near the top of the story to watch a report by FOX News' Orlando Salinas.