Woman Convicted of Theft of Aid

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

A jury in Fort Worth has convicted a woman of theft related to about 21-thousand dollars in federal benefits for a Hurricane Katrina evacuee.

Sheila Harris is free pending sentencing November third.

Harris was convicted yesterday of theft of government property and bank burglary.

Willie Jean Foster Payne of New Orleans eventually reached a Houston nursing home. Her husband -- Lee Otha Reaves -- ended up in Fort Worth.

The Fort Worth Star-Telegram did stories on the couple when they were reunited.

Reaves died November 19th of a heart attack.

Harris was Payne's food stamp administrator and eventually took in the elderly woman, with financial help from attorney Mark Lane.

Prosecutors say Payne was at her husband's funeral in Lexington, Mississippi, when the FEMA check arrived.

Harris could get ten years in prison for theft of government property, and 20 years for bank burglary.

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