Man gets 2 years for lying about hurricane damage for money

October 22, 2021 GMT

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A Florida man has been sentenced to two years in federal prison for lying about damage caused by Hurricane Irma in order to receive disaster relief money.

Deontre Javan Taylor, 27, was sentenced Friday in Jacksonville federal court, according to court records. Besides the prison time, he was also ordered to repay money the he received from the federal government. Taylor pleaded guilty in June to disaster assistance fraud.

According to court documents, Taylor claimed that his Jacksonville home was damaged by Hurricane Irma in a September 2017 application for disaster assistance benefits to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. He stated that storm surge flooded his home, and lightning caused a power surge that resulted in a loss of power. Taylor claimed that he moved to a hotel and needed housing assistance, which led to FEMA paying him $8,038.19.


Investigators later determined that Taylor hadn’t actually lived at the home since at least 2015 and that the home didn’t suffer storm surge damage or power loss during Hurricane Irma.

Hurricane Irma struck Florida in September 2017, causing about $50 billion in damage throughout the state.