Criminal Justice News

Thursday, May 03, 2012

Federal Grand Jury Indicts Two People for Disaster Fraud

BIRMINGHAM—Two more people face federal charges of fraudulently claiming disaster benefits following the April 27, 2011, tornadoes that struck northern Alabama, announced U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, FBI Special Agent in Charge Patrick J. Maley, and Department of Homeland Security, Office of the Inspector General, Special Agent in Charge James E. Ward.

In separate indictments returned today, a federal grand jury charged ANGELA MICHELLE ANDERSON, 42, of Tuscaloosa, and DONNIE LEE BURLESON, 37, of Hackleburg, with making fraudulent representations to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in an application for disaster benefits concerning their places of residence on the day of the tornadoes. These indictments bring to 11 the number of people who have been charged in federal court in the Northern District of Alabama with fraudulently claiming benefits intended for victims of the April 2011 storms.

According to the indictment against Anderson, she falsely represented that she lived at a Crescent Lane residence in Tuscaloosa that had been damaged by the storm. She is also charged with falsely stating on a FEMA form that all the information she provided in her application for disaster benefits was true and correct.

Burleson is charged with falsely claiming that he owned a dwelling on Nix Road in Hackleburg that had been damaged by the storm.

The public can report fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations through the National Disaster Fraud Hotline, toll free, at 1-866-720-5721, or by e-mailing The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The FBI and Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General investigated both cases. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama is prosecuting the cases.

Members of the public are reminded that an indictment contains only charges. A defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.

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