Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and Wife Laura Indicted for
by Keith Burton - GCN 1/28/09
Today's arraignment ends months of speculation by Gulfport and Coast residents as to the seriousness of the investigations underway in the city.
A somber Brent Warr entered the courtroom with his wife Laura along with attorney Joe Sam Owen. Their appearance before Federal Judge John Roper lasted about 30 minutes. Both Warr's pled "not guilty."
The prominent Gulfport couple was charged by a federal grand jury for hurricane Katrina related fraud. The grand jury indictment alleges that the Warrs made a false statement to the Mississippi Development Authority for a HUD funded home grant and committed mail fraud in obtaining funds from Lexington Insurance Company.
Following the court appearance, the Warrs made a short statement outside the courthouse to reporters.
"Laura and I have entered our pleas. It speaks for itself," he said. "We are not going to make public statements."
A tentative trial date of April 6 has been set by Judge Roper who said the case will be tried by long-time U.S. District Judge Walter J. Gex.
The Warrs were released on unsecured bonds of $25,000 each.
Pursuant to the Justice Department initiative, a local Katrina Fraud
Task Force, consisting of more than 20 federal and state law enforcement
agencies, was formed in the Southern District of
GulfCoastNews.com first broke the story on Warr's receipt of a MDA Homeowner Grant Jan. 4, 2008. Readers can read more of GCN's reports in the archive link below.
Federal Warr Indictment - .pdf file