Union City, Georgia, June 29, 2007
NRI father Ramesh Patel, 51, and his son Chirag Patel, 26, both
of Union City, Georgia were charged with defrauding $20,000 to
the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) of funds meant
for victims of Hurricane
Katrina. They were released shortly after their arraignment
on a $20,000 bond.
Comfort Inn Union City, 6800 Shannon Way, Union City, GA 30291
In October 2005, the Patels, owner of a Comfort Inn in Union
City rented rooms to Gulf Coast evacuees. But the Patels continued
to charge the Federal Emergency Management Agency for rooms after
the evacuees had checked out. In some cases, they billed FEMA
for rooms that the evacuees had never stayed in. The rooms were
either rented to non-evacuee guests or occupied by members of
the Patels' family, according to prosecutors.
Mr. David Nahmias, U.S. Attorney said his office has prosecuted
several individuals who falsely claimed to have been Hurricane
Katrina victims. But this is his office's first case involving
people who provided services to hurricane victims.
“These defendants allegedly billed FEMA by claiming that
Hurricane Katrina evacuees stayed at their hotel on certain nights,
when in fact they did not stay at their hotel,” said US
Attorney David Nahmias.
“They took advantage of the chaos created by Hurricane
Katrina and bilked the taxpayers of tens of thousands of dollars
earmarked for emergency housing. Such conduct simply will not
be tolerated,” he was quoted as saying by the Atlanta Business
After the Patel's charge, reporters rushed to the Comfort Inn
at 6800 Shannon Way for interview but Patel declined to speak
to a reporters and said "You can just talk to my lawyer."
Don't worry Patel sahib, you are not alone , read this:
Mr. Dugas said, federal prosecutors have filed hurricane-related
criminal charges against 335 individuals. That represents a record
number of indictments from a single hurricane season, Justice
Department officials said. Separately, Red Cross officials say
they are investigating 7,100 cases of possible fraud.
The American people are the most generous in the world in responding
to a disaster," Mr. Dugas said. "We won't tolerate people
in a position of public trust taking advantage of the situation."
There are bigger cases of government waste or fraud in United
States history. The Treasury Department, for example, estimated
in 2005 that Americans in a single year had improperly been granted
perhaps $9 billion in unjustified claims under the Earned-Income
Tax Credit. The Department of Health and Human Services in 2001
estimated that nearly $12 billion in Medicare benefit payments
in the previous year had been based on improper or fraudulent
Patel sahib, you can be accepted because of your blood is mix
up with our old culture, BUT HOW YOUR DARE TO TEACH YOUR SON this
kind of "hera pheri"
Gary Singh, reporter