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Wednesday, June 14, 2006
By Dr. Steven Taylor

From the AP comes tales of your tax dollars at work: FEMA funds spent on divorce, sex change

Houston divorce lawyer Mark Lipkin says he can’t recall anyone paying for his services with a FEMA debit card, but congressional investigators say one of his clients did just that.

The $1,000 payment was just one example cited in an audit that concluded that up to $1.4 billion — perhaps as much as 16 percent of the billions of dollars in assistance expended after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita — was spent for bogus reasons.

[…]

The GAO said it was 95 percent confident that improper and potentially fraudulent payments were much higher — between $600 million and $1.4 billion.

Ugh.

To be honest, this revelation isn’t that surprising, yet it remains rather frustrating, to be sure.

More tales of the spend-o-rama:

Among the items purchased with the cards:

_An all-inclusive, one-week Caribbean vacation in the Punta Cana resort in the Dominican Republic.

_Five season tickets to New Orleans Saints professional football games.

_Adult erotica products in Houston and “Girls Gone Wild” videos in Santa Monica, Calif.

_Dom Perignon champagne and other alcoholic beverages in San Antonio.

Filed under: US Politics, Hurricanes | |Send TrackBack

The Florida Masochist linked with FEMA and fraud

3 Comments »

  1. FEMA and fraud

    When I’m in a good frame of mind, I can cut FEMA some slack. They are dealing with t he aftermath of a disaster and trying to get as much help out as fast as possible. All done while intense media and public scrutiny that are demanding relief right a…

    Trackback by The Florida Masochist — Wednesday, June 14, 2006 @ 10:07 am

  2. I think allowing fraud was a choice that was made, and probably the right one.

    Putting processes in place that would have impeded the procurement of necessities like “Girls Gone Wild” videos would have taken time. That was the 1 thing that FEMA didn’t have. There were too many people calling for ’something’ to be done NOW. Can you imagine the screams of agony from Washington and New Orleans if FEMA would have announced a 2 week delay while it ponders how to do away with the worse of the fraud before giving away the money? That just wasn’t politically palatable. Better a little fraud than a delay in the funds.

    Comment by Buckland — Wednesday, June 14, 2006 @ 10:47 am

  3. You make a legit point.

    Still, it is frustrating, and it is a remarkable amount of fraud.

    Still, at least the money went into the economy… ;)

    Comment by Dr. Steven Taylor — Wednesday, June 14, 2006 @ 10:49 am

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