From luxury vacations to a sex change operation, much of the money meant to help victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita was lost to fraud.
An audit by congressional investigators concluded that up to one-point-four (b) billion dollars of hurricane assistance funding was spent for bogus reasons. A House committee looks at the fraud issue today.
The audit found that people lodged in hotels after the storms often were paid twice, since FEMA gave them individual rental assistance and paid hotels directly. In one case, the agency paid California hotels eight-thousand dollars to house one person, who received three rental assistance payments for both Katrina and Rita.
The findings are the latest black eye for FEMA, which took widespread criticism for its handling of the hurricanes last year.