Woman gets 21 months in prison for FEMA fraud

By ROBIN FITZGERALD – rfitzgerald@sunherald.com

GULFPORT

A judge considered a former Coast woman’s criminal background when he sentenced her to prison Thursday for defrauding FEMA of money for disaster housing assistance.

Zhioukellia Brown, 30, of Atlanta will serve 21 months in prison. She also must repay FEMA $10,650.90 for help she wasn’t eligible to receive after Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge Sul Ozerden sentenced her and ordered three years’ probation once she’s out of prison.

Brown is one of three people who falsely claimed they lived at the same apartment in Gulfport, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Brown had lived in Pascagoula but admitted she was living in Georgia when Katrina struck.

Court records show Brown has been in and out of prison since 1998 over repeated violations of probation on an unrelated federal conviction. On one occasion she was returned to prison after Gautier police arrested her on a shoplifting charge.

She was in jail on other charges in Georgia when she was indicted in September in the FEMA fraud case.

Brown and two Gulfport residents claimed they lived on Jody Nelson Drive at the time of the hurricane.

Evelyn T. Wilson and Gregory Towner Jr. each received three years’ probation at sentencings in late 2009.

Wilson, 27, was ordered to repay FEMA more than $23,000. Towner, 33, had to repay $2,358.

Read more: http://www.sunherald.com/2010/04/08/2086351/woman-gets-21-months-in-prison.html#ixzz0kbiU6gHZ

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