Man sentenced in Katrina fraud case

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A 59-year-old man was sentenced Monday to 8 1/2 years in prison on charges stemming from his use of stolen identities in an attempt to acquire more than $100,000 in payments intended for victims of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Jeffrey Alan Rothschild, who's also known as Jeffrey Zahler, pleaded guilty in August to bank fraud, mail fraud and money laundering in late 2005. He was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly in Washington. U.S. Attorney Jeffrey A. Taylor said Rothschild abused a system set up by the Federal Emergency Management Agency to allow hurricane victims to receive $2,000 in emergency funds after providing their names, Social Security numbers and other information.

Between about Sept. 13, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2005, Rothschild used personal information and addresses that he found on the Internet or material he made up to get money from FEMA, Taylor said.

As a result, FEMA issued 38 checks to people whose names Rothschild had provided. He then forged the checks and deposited them in accounts he controlled. He submitted 14 applications for which he did not receive checks, Taylor said.

Rothschild has no fixed address.

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