Bessemer Ala. Woman Sentenced To 16 Months In Prison For Disaster Fraud
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Posted: Saturday, August 11, 2012
by Joel Hendon
According to a North Alabama District FBI press release, U.S. District Judge Karon O. Bowdre has sentenced a Bessemer woman to 16 months in prison for forging a Bessemer Fire Department report as part of her fraudulent application for disaster benefits following the devastating April 27, 2011 tornadoes in Alabama.
Sabrita Latrice Goodwin, age 25 was charged with altering a fire department report to make it appear that the department had concluded a fire at Goodwin’s Bessemer residence had been caused by a tornado.
Goodwin, then 24, was initially indicted on September 14, 2011, at which time she pleaded not guilty to the charge. After her arraignment, Goodwin was released on a $5,000 unsecured bond.
At a later hearing however, she pleaded guilty in April of 2012. She submitted the fraudulent report to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in support of her application for emergency disaster relief, according to court records. She was held in federal custody after this plea until her sentencing.
Goodwin committed the crime “in the wake of one of the most serious natural disasters to ever affect this state,” the government said in its sentencing memorandum. “The defendant sought to fraudulently divert disaster benefits to herself that were meant for honest citizens genuinely affected by the storm,” the government said. (FBI press release)The FBI and the IGO of DHS investigated the case, which was prosecuted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Alabama.
For earlier details of this and other fraud attempts following the April 1011 tornadoes visit the AL.com article of September 2011.
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