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FRIDAY, JULY 27, 2007
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Woman pleads guilty to Katrina fraud

MOBILE (AP) — A Grand Bay woman has pleaded guilty to defrauding the federal government following Hurricane Katrina by getting about $10,000 in assistance and a FEMA trailer in a scam.

Winnie Lins Driver, 41, who entered the plea in federal court Wednesday prior to the start of her trial, was accused by a neighbor of hosing down the inside of her home to make it look as though it had been flooded.

With her plea, Driver admitted that she submitted claims to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in September 2005, including a claim of hurricane damage to her house. But neighbors told investigators they didn't see any damage.

at the house, other than a few missing shingles.

A federal grand jury accused Driver of improperly receiving payments of $2,000 and roughly $8,690, along with the FEMA trailer, even though her house was still livable. When FEMA representatives came to remove the trailer, Driver and an unnamed person refused to allow them to take it.

Driver, who had other charges dismissed, could be sentenced to up to a year in prison. Her attorney said he hopes she gets probation, and federal prosecutors said they would make no recommendation to the judge.

Driver is one of dozens of people who have been indicted on fraud charges since Hurricane Katrina. Nearly all have pleaded guilty.

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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 This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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