He's Guilty -- Of Generating Good Quotes

Keep Houston Press Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Houston and help keep the future of Houston Press free.

If you're a defendant in a federal criminal case alleging you scammed FEMA in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, which of these two things would you least like to hear?

a) Your own attorney describing your mental state: "He can function. I mean, he's not like...a raving lunatic. He's not Anthony Hopkins. But he doesn't have the ability to discern things [and] can't make executive decisions."


b) The judge in your case describing your defense as "not sound science" and comparable to "Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland."

Either way, you're probably screwed.

And screwed is what Daniel Yeh is.

At the time of Katrina, he had a long-term lease on Galveston's Flagship Hotel, owned by Tilman Fertitta.

The feds say he scammed FEMA out of more than $230,000 by inflating the number of evacuees he housed at the Flagship.

His lawyer argued Yeh had diminished brain capacity because of a series of operations for a brain tumor; he also noted that Yeh had reimbursed the feds the money they said he scammed.

U.S. District Judge Melinda Harmon wasn't impressed.

The U.S. Attorney's Office says:

Judge Harmon also noted that "given the public nature and widespread availability of disaster-assistance relief programs, deterrence is a particularly important sentencing consideration" and that Yeh's fraud involved more money, sophistication and planning than any of the other more than eighty cases of FEMA fraud charged in the district thus far.

Yeh was sentenced to 30 months in prison and a $30,000 fine.

-- Richard Connelly

Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.


Join the Press community and help support independent local journalism in Houston.