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The original item was published from 6/12/2019 11:56:00 AM to 7/30/2019 9:32:37 AM.

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Posted on: June 7, 2019

[ARCHIVED] Key Largo Man Charged With Post-Hurricane Theft From FEMA

This is Alfredo Latour

PLANTATION KEY, June 7, 2019 – A Key Largo man has been charged with grand theft for allegedly bilking a federal agency out of disaster-relief money following Hurricane Irma.

Alfredo M. Latour Jr., 54, was booked into the Monroe County Detention Center on June 5 on a charge of grand theft of $300 to less than $5,000 based on a warrant prepared by State Attorney’s Office Investigator Abraham Vallejo. Latour is accused of receiving $4,864 from the Federal Emergency Management Agency under false pretenses.

Hurricane Irma struck the Florida Keys on September 10, 2017, as a Category 4 storm, causing widespread damage. Four days later, Latour put in a claim to FEMA for assistance and received $3,364 for rental help, $1,000 for home repairs and $500 for “critical-needs” assistance. He wrote in his application his primary residence was a mobile home in the Calusa Campground Resort and Marina at mile marker 101.5 of U.S. 1. His application listed a Miami mailing address.

Latour applied for more rental assistance in October 2017 and more home-repair assistance in March 2018. FEMA turned down both because agency staff believed the Key Largo address wasn’t his primary residence, as is required for such assistance, according to Vallejo’s probable-cause affidavit. On February 5 of this year, FEMA contacted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Inspector General with its suspicions.

Homeland Security Agents Dominick Casciotta and Brian Calvery spoke with Latour in April and he told them he and his wife separated in July 2017, and that’s when he moved into the mobile home, making it his primary residence. But after the hurricane, because the mobile home was so damaged, he moved back in with his wife in Miami, he told the agents.

Casciotta and Calvery showed him records showing Latour rented out the mobile home to a tenant between October 6 and December 7, 2017. According to Vallejo’s affidavit, Latour acknowledged that and said its condition was “uninhabitable for him.”

He then admitted he applied for the FEMA money even though the mobile home was not his primary residence when Hurricane Irma struck. He and his wife had actually separated just days before the hurricane, not in July 2017, months before the hurricane struck, he told the agents.

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