This summer we told you about two locals who had not only been accused of defrauding the federal government, but something far, far more powerful: Oprah Winfrey.
Sisters Darlene McGruder Poole and Lashone McGruder Victor were charged in August with filing false information to FEMA in order to get rent money after already receiving houses from Oprah's Angel Network.
Today they pled guilty in a Houston federal court "to conspiring to defraud FEMA of more than $14,000 in connection with Hurricane Katrina," as the U.S. Attorney's office put it.
The two will be sentenced in January and face up to 20 years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
The DOJ announced a similar case resulted in another guilty plea today from Angela Payne, also known as Angela McKinnies:
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Payne also purchased a home on Angel Lane through the same charitable programs and she similarly submitted bogus rental receipts in order to fraudulently obtain nearly $10,000 in additional disaster assistance from FEMA. Prior to making her fraudulent submissions to FEMA, Payne received more than $16,000 in legitimate disaster assistance as a result of being displaced from New Orleans by Katrina.
She too is scheduled for sentencing in January.
The rest of the inhabitants of Angel Lane are clean. As far as we know.
Hopefully Oprah has learned a lesson about the horrors that can happen when you do charitable things, and will never, ever make such a mistake again, because obviously every Katrina refugee is a money-grubbing handout-seeker who just can't be trusted. According to what we hear from some people, anyway.