The gub'mint keeps track of its money better than Zaimah K. Muhammad expected. The 31-year-old Kansas City woman, formerly of New Orleans, Louisiana, admitted yesterday in federal court that she submitted false certifications and forged receipts in order to get $28,220 in bad karma.
It's crazy to think that even five years later, there are still so many scammers seeking Katrina Kash that the Department of Justice has an entire task force dedicated to rooting out the frauds.
Muhammad wasn't eligible for the $17,977 that she illegally obtained from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and that was intended for emergency housing assistance for Hurricane Katrina victims. Nor should she have gotten money reserved for low-income housing recipients: $10,243 from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Housing Authority of Kansas City.
Of course, it would have been nice if FEMA and HUD had picked up on Muhammad's forgeries before cutting the checks.
Muhammad admitted that she surfed on her scam from December 2005 until July 2007. She faces up to 20 years in federal prison without parole and a fine of up to $500,000. Once the U.S. Probation Office is done with a pretrial investigation, a sentencing date will be set.