Ex-Mobile policeman, wife plead not guilty to FEMA fraud
MOBILE (AP) — A Mobile police corporal who resigned March 27 and his wife pleaded not guilty to federal charges of FEMA fraud in claiming nearly $30,000 in hurricane disaster aid.
Tirell Deran Bowie, 37, and Monique McCall, 37, entered the pleas Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Mobile for allegedly defrauding the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The indictment accuses Bowie of 11 counts of wire fraud, one count of false claims against the government and one count of mail fraud for Katrina aid.
McCall faces 17 counts of wire fraud and three counts of making false claims for disaster aid she sought after hurricanes Ivan, Dennis and Katrina.
The indictment does not provide details about damages Bowie and his wife said they suffered but indicates that they sought assistance for their home. It alleges that Bowie and McCall each filled out separate FEMA claims saying that they lived alone and had no homeowner insurance.
Bowie and McCall own a home in an area of west Mobile that did not sustain widespread damage during Ivan, Dennis or Katrina, authorities said.
Bowie described himself to FEMA as a part-time contractor who earned about $16,000 a year, the indictment says. At the time of the claim, he was a police corporal earning a salary of $29,000 to $41,000, according to Mobile County Personnel Board files.
A 1995 graduate of the police academy, Bowie twice used the Mobile Police's Internal Affair's Office fax machine to correspond with FEMA, according to the indictment.
Police spokesman Officer Eric Gallichant said Bowie was a recruiter for the Police Department who worked from an office in the internal affairs section of police headquarters.
Bowie and his lawyer, Dom Soto, declined to comment Wednesday after the court hearing.
If convicted of making false claims against the government, they could face up to five years in prison and a $250,000 fine. A wire fraud conviction could carry a penalty of up to 20 years and a $250,000 fine.
Information from: Press-Register, http://www.al.com/mobileregister
Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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