Ocean Springs woman guilty of defrauding government

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Sarah Sonnier of Ocean Springs was sentenced Wednesday after pleading guilty to submitting false claims to FEMA and the American Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina disaster assistance funds.

U.S. Attorney Dunn Lampton said Sonnier defrauded the federal government of more than $18,000, and the American Red Cross of more than $3,000. Lampton said she claimed damage to an address in Biloxi that she didn't live at during Hurricane Katrina.

U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex. III sentenced Sonnier to serve four months in home confinement and five months on probation. She was also ordered to pay full restitution to FEMA and the American Red Cross.

If anyone has information concerning possible fraud being committed during the post- Katrina recovery effort, please call either the DHS-OIG Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or the FBI Fraud Hotline at 1-800-225-5324.