Man Accused of Falsely Claiming Hurricane Katrina Relief Funds

An Oklahoma City man was indicted in federal court on Thursday on charges of making false claims for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief funds.

A federal grand jury indicted Darryl Eugene Hayes, 31, on three counts of mail fraud and two counts of making false statements, U.S. Attorney John C. Richter said.

The mail fraud counts each carry a penalty of up to 20 years in prison plus restitution and a fine of up to $250,000. The other two counts are punishable by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $250,000.

The indictment claims that Hayes defrauded the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Louisiana Department of Labor of more than $10,000 by claiming unemployment benefits for supposed Hurricane Katrina evacuees under three false names, Richter said.

It also alleges that Hayes submitted a fraudulent application to FEMA, claiming that his home in New Orleans was damaged by the August 2005 storm and that he was living in a "mass shelter," and later faxed a letter to FEMA claiming he had sustained losses "from the hurricane" and had relocated to Oklahoma City, Richter said.