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Federal jury finds Chalmette resident guilty of using Monroe property to illegally receive disaster funds

MONROE, La. United States Attorney David C. Joseph announced today that Chad Lightfoot, 47, of Chalmette, Louisiana, was convicted by a federal jury for using an address at a Monroe house that he did not live in to receive disaster payments.  The jury returned the guilty verdict after deliberating for approximately one hour.  United States District Judge Terry A. Doughty presided over the trial that began Monday, March 11, 2019 and ended today.

Evidence presented at trial showed that Lightfoot owned an abandoned, unoccupied property in Monroe, but lived in Chalmette.  After a federal disaster was declared on March 13, 2016 following severe storms and flooding in Northeast Louisiana, Lightfoot applied for disaster grant assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) for damage to the property he owned on South Fourth Street in Monroe. Lightfoot listed his primary residence as Monroe on his FEMA application, and prior to the property’s inspection by FEMA on March 30, 2016, Lightfoot obtained a Louisiana Identification Card to appear as though he lived there.  He also submitted a fraudulent cable bill to FEMA to establish proof of occupancy.  As a result of his fraudulent claims, FEMA sent Lightfoot $23,684 on April 4, 2016 for repairs.  Lightfoot also submitted two appeals to FEMA, which included $115,669 and $122,500 in repair estimates.  

Lightfoot faces up to 30 years in prison, five years supervised release, and a $250,000 fine per count, and restitution.  The court set sentencing for July 3, 2019.

The Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, conducted the investigation.  Assistant U.S. Attorneys Tennille M. Gilreath and Allison D. Bushnell are prosecuting the case.

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