Prosecutors announced Friday the sanctions provided for in the program in effect from 2010 to 2017, under which a promise of large-scale funding had been promised to non-profit organizations in exchange for upfront payments.
The records show that Kelly Ray Coronado, 51, of Del Rio, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit computer fraud and was sentenced Wednesday to 51 months in prison. 59-year-old co-accused James Edward Cox of Waxhaw, North Carolina, pleaded guilty to the same charge and is serving a six-and-a-half-year sentence.
A third man, 55-year-old Gordon Richard Moskowitz of Sarasota, Florida, pleaded guilty to conspiring to launder money and was sentenced to nearly four years in prison.
To scam a volunteer organization and take advantage of those who need it is not new.
The Texas Attorney General's Office has reported receiving nearly 3,000 complaints as a result of Hurricane Harvey in 2017.
Cases of fraud include price gouging, fake pages from GoFundMe, fraudulent Facebook postings, FEMA job listings, and impostors. Investigators say that one should be wary of crooks who usurp the identity of the government and insurance agents.
"Criminals do not fail," said Jim Elliott, deputy regional director of the Federal Trade Commission.
In one of the last attempts, according to Elliot, scammers have targeted Texas hunters. The thieves even pretended to be the National Rifle Association and solicited funds.
"Links to report scams and consumer problems"
Attorney General of Texas Resources
The Attorney General's free hotline for consumer protection
Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) / Federal Office of Investigation
⇓ Helps to detect illegal activities
"Find a charity before making a donation"