Hotel Fraud

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A federal grand jury in Houston has indicted the operator of Galveston's famed Flagship Hotel for allegedly defrauding the federal hurricane lodging program.

The indictment accuses 52-year-old Daniel Yeh of defrauding the emergency relief program of at least 232-thousand dollars. The Sugar Land resident's accused of 22 counts of wire fraud and 17 counts of filing false claims against the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Yeh's attorneys say their client has undergone surgeries for three brain tumors and is not mentally competent to face trial.

The indictment accuses Yeh of filing claims in the names of hotel employees previously housed there for free, as well as hurricane evacuees never housed there. He's also accused of billing for rooms occupied by paying guests and by friends and relatives.

The attorneys say the hotel management had relied for FEMA billing guidance on an executive they didn't identify. They say the executive is no longer with the hotel and the hotel has reimbursed the program.

The wire fraud counts each carry punishments of up to 20 years in prison. The false claims counts each carry punishments of up to five years in prison. Each of the 39 counts also carry fines of up to 250-thousand dollars.