Posted March 7, 2006 – A man who posed as a Hurricane Katrina victim will spend the next eight months in prison for bilking the American Red Cross out of more than $2,000.
David Zimmerman, 34, was sentenced Monday in Miami County Common Pleas Court and ordered to repay $2,044 to the charity’s North Miami Valley Chapter for filing a false claim, the Dayton Daily News reported.
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Zimmerman told police that he and his family left Troy, Ohio, on Aug. 20, to go live with relatives in Alabama but returned when they heard Katrina was on its way. He applied for Katrina victims’ assistance, and the Red Cross cut him a check for $1,565 and another for $480 for hotel accomodations, The Associated Press reported.
When the judge in Zimmerman’s case asked him what he thought of someone stealing from charity, he simply replied, “I think it’s wrong.”
Zimmerman’s lawyer said he client was sorry, and his money troubles are what led him to file the false claim.
In December, 49 people in California were indicted for allegedly stealing hundreds of thousands of dollars in Red Cross relief funds for Katrina victims.
Seventeen of those accused worked at a Red Cross center in Bakersfield, Calif., which handled calls from Katrina victims and authorized cash payments to them. The other 32 charged were the workers' relatives and friends.
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