Marrero man pleads guilty in Katrina theft investigation

Marrero man pleads guilty in Katrina theft investigation

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - U.S. Attorney Kenneth A. Polite announced that Prentiss Martin, age 51, of Marrero, pled guilty today to theft of government funds.

According to court documents, the Federal Emergency Management Agency provided federal funds to the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program (HMGP), which provided grants to states and local governments to implement long-term hazard mitigation measures after a major disaster declaration.

Martin executed application documents with the HMGP to receive federal grant funds to reconstruct his house on Bay Street in New Orleans, which was damaged by Hurricane Katrina. In support of his HMGP Home Reconstruction Grant application, prosecutors say Martin submitted fraudulent documents. As a result of his fraudulent submissions, Martin accepted and received federal HMGP grant monies in the amount of $80,000 to reconstruct his house. When special agents from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General traveled to Martin's property on Bay Street, they report they observed a vacant lot.

Martin faces a maximum term of imprisonment of ten years, a fine of $250,000 and three years of supervised release following any term of imprisonment. U.S. District Judge Eldon E. Fallon set sentencing for July 21, 2016.

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