News

Man arrested for alleged Hurricane Katrina scam

Palo Alto police arrested Dante Jackson, 31, of East Palo Alto on Thursday, charging him with posing as a resident of New Orleans to get relief money from the Palo Alto Area Chapter of the American Red Cross in September 2005.

Detective Brian Philip said that police had arrest warrants for people for allegedly scamming the Red Cross but were only able to find Jackson.

People posing falsely as refugees from hurricane-ravaged New Orleans received relief checks of between $600 and $1,500, Philip said.

"In order to get financial assistance, the suspects simply had to provide their name and an address of a residence located within the disaster area," Philip said. "The American Red Cross immediately changed their application procedures when this fraudulent activity was discovered."

Philip said that Red Cross officials became suspicious when applications for financial assistance "began to increase at a dramatic rate" a month after the hurricane flooded New Orleans.

-- Don Kazak

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Crime and Punishment
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 15, 2007 at 12:14 am

This gentleman should be sent to New Orleans to work in clean up crews, for $5 an hour, until he generates 10 times the amount that he defrauded the Red Cross.

He would receive not one penny of that money, and instead be housed in the local jail, until he earns his way out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Accountability
a resident of Community Center
on Sep 16, 2007 at 5:25 am

I think the RED CROSS employee who created that form should be fired as well.




 +   Like this comment
Posted by Please
a resident of Menlo Park
on Sep 16, 2007 at 12:03 pm

Oh please, no one "makes up" a form for this sort of thing. It was a standardized national policy for the entire organization, coast to coast. Remember that absolutely legitimate clients lost everything when they evacuated-- no ID, no nothing. How were they supposed to be identified? Shame on the scammers, not on the Red Cross. Better to help a few fraudulent people than not provide any assistance to those who really needed it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Me
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on May 7, 2008 at 4:08 pm

Believe me. This person will end up losing more than he ever got from scamming the government. They will try to keep him in jail longer than a child molester and when he gets out he'll never be able to get a job again. I'm not saying what he did was right but the punishment will not match the crime. The first comment was very good- good idea for punishment. A lot of people who attempt what they think is a victimless crime do so because they feel that the government owes them and sometimes they do! Don't judge- get an understanding.


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