Monday, December 22, 2008

New Mexico Woman Charged With 73 Fraud Counts - Relief Funds Stolen

Lori Howard, of Clovis, New Mexico, was arrested today and charged with 73 fraud counts including felony fraud, identity theft and forgery in the theft of some $145,000 in tornado relief funds. According to prosecutors, Howard was a project manager for the Eastern Plains Council of Government and assigned to manage a financial assistance program to help residents in Curry and Roosevelt counties after tornadoes hit the area in March 2007. The program financed the New Mexico Mortgage Finance Authority to assist affected people with rental homes for up to six months. Prosecutors say Howard set up a front rental company, LH Rentals, and submitted fraudulent rental bills for reimbursement, pocketing $145,076 on the scam. She will be arraigned later this week.

Read the story here.
Update (4/1/10): Howard, now 40, was sentenced to 10 years in prison yesterday. She had plead guilty to 72 of the 73 original counts.

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