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Federal Prosecutors Release Bill of Particulars on One Count in Warr Homeowner Grant Fraud Case

by Keith Burton - GCN  4/29/09

Federal prosecutors Tuesday, in the Homeowner Grant Fraud case of Gulfport Mayor Brent Warr and his wife Laura responded to a motion requiring the release of more information on one of the 16 counts in their federal indictment.

In court records filed on the case in the federal courthouse in Gulfport, prosecutors filed a "Bill of Particulars" on a false statement the government said the Warr's made in receiving a Mississippi Development Authority Homeowner Grant. Defense attorneys wanted more details on the "false statement' alleged in the indictment issued January 28, 2009. The initial indictment contained no details of the false statement.

This latest filing details some of the specifics of false statements that the Warr's made in connection to the allegation. The text of the government's filing follows below:

UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF MISSISSIPPI
SOUTHERN DIVISION
UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

Criminal No. 1:08cr 132-WJG-JMR
v.
GREGORY BRENT WARR and
LAURA JEAN WARR

BILL OF PARTICULARS AS TO COUNT 4

The United States of America (hereinafter the “Government”) respectfully submits  this Bill of Particulars pursuant to the Order of the Court entered April 14, 2009.

1. Count 4 of the superseding indictment alleges a false and fraudulent statement  to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in signing a declaration and release stating that the information provided in the application for FEMA disaster assistance was true and  correct. In looking at the entire FEMA application by defendants numerous false statements are included.

2. As contained in the FEMA file provided in discovery, the FEMA application process began with a phone registration on September 14, 2005, in which the defendants submitted false and fraudulent information regarding the following:

Primary residence: 1814 Beach Dr. Gulfport MS
Emergency needs : YES
Emergency needs for Food: YES
Emergency needs for Clothing: YES
Emergency needs for Shelter: YES

Names of all persons living in home at the time of disaster:

GREGORY BRENT & LAURA WARR, EMMA L. WARR, NOAH J. WARR..

3. According to the FEMA documentation included in discovery provided, subsequent to the initial registration, FEMA conducted an on site inspection on November 26, 2005, of 1814 Beach Dr., Gulfport, MS. The inspection report reflects that at the time of this inspection the defendants were present and falsely and fraudulently represented to the FEMA inspector that 1814 Beach Dr. Gulfport, MS was their primary residence; that at the time of Hurricane Katrina 3 bedrooms of the residence were occupied; and that the home was fully complete, furnished, and occupied at the time of Hurricane Katrina. As reflected in the FEMA file under the Comments Report, the defendants further represented to the FEMA inspector that they had unmet needs regarding vehicle replacement for a 1974 Volkswagen Carmen Ghia, however the inspector was unable to verify this information.

Respectfully submitted this 28th day of April, 2009.

STAN B. HARRIS
Acting United States Attorney

The Warrs have maintained that they have done nothing improper and that they lived in the home prior to the August 29, 2005 landfall of Hurricane Katrina, which was a requirement for receiving the Homeowner Grant. The Warrs received the maximum allowed in the program, $150,000 to help rebuild the house on the beachfront in Gulfport. The home went through a massive renovation, which substantially changed its appearance from what it was prior to the hurricane.

The trial in the case is currently set for Sept. 8. Mayor Brent Warr and his wife Laura entered pleas of not guilty in the16-count indictment for Katrina fraud. Both Warrs face up to 210 years in prison and a potential fine up to $4 million if convicted on each count of the indictment.


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