The office of State Auditor Stacey Pickering says Brent Warr, Mayor of Gulfport, and his wife Laura Jean Warr, have been indicted by a federal grand jury for Hurricane Katrina related fraud.
A 16-count indictment alleges the Warrs conspired to defraud the United States, filed a false claim for disaster assistance, made false statements to FEMA, stole government funds and committed insurance fraud.
An investigation was conducted by the State Auditor’s Katrina Fraud Task Force, Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and the OIG-Housing and Urban Development.
The indictment alleges that the Warrs made a false statement to the Mississippi Development Authority for a HUD funded home grant and committed mail fraud in obtaining funds from Lexington Insurance Company.
If convicted of each count, the Warrs each could face up to 210 years imprisonment and up to $4 million in fines. The defendants were released on bond and ordered to appear at trial on April 6, 2009.
“Since being sworn in January 10, 2008, our office was received 23 indictments for Katrina-related fraud in state and federal court,” said Pickering. “The devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina will not ever be forgotten by Mississippians and those around the world. As with any proven government fraud, no one is above the law, and I am committed to assisting in the prosecution of those convicted to the fullest extent of the law."