WASHINGTON, Oct. 4 (UPI) -- The Justice Department announced charges Tuesday against nine people accused to trying to defraud the Red Cross by claiming hurricane relief assistance.
United States Attorney McGregor Scott, of the Eastern District of California said in a statement nine people had been charged "with participating in a wire fraud scheme to defraud the American Red Cross of funds intended for victims of Hurricane Katrina" over the past three days.
Scott said it was "beyond the pale" that the nine had sought "to capitalize on the tragedy wrought by Hurricane Katrina and the generosity of so many who donated relief funds."
Eight of the nine, all residents of Bakersfield, Calif., had been arrested, said Scott and a warrant had been issued for the arrest of the ninth.
The statement named the eight arrested as Trent Jermaine Preslie, age 33, Aminah Randle, age 19, Robert Johnson, age 23, Miko Shannia Nobles, age 22, Tonjua Randle, age 39, Sheena Porter, age 21, Stanley Lewis, age 44, and Candice Brown, age 20. Still being sought was Elizabeth Ray, whose age was not given.
Scott said that the investigation was continuing and other law enforcement sources confirmed to UPI that more arrests were hoped for.
Four of the accused worked at a Red Cross call center in Bakersfield, the other five were closely associated with one or more employees there, according to the statement, which said the accused had made false claims for cash relief provided by the Red Cross evacuees and other victims of Katrina's devastation.