Following a Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General (DHS OIG) investigation, a 22-year-old Houstonian has admitted to conspiracy to commit wire fraud.
From March of 2020 until December of 2020, Desiree Coleman conspired with others to commit wire fraud by submitting false applications for government assistance. Coleman instructed others on how to defraud government programs and applied for others using false representations. She charged a fee per fraudulent application she filed. Coleman used the internet to conduct the fraudulent schemes and had advertised her services via her Instagram stories. Most of Coleman’s conversations regarding Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and unemployment fraud schemes were conducted via private Instagram messages. Her Instagram page had close to 3,000 followers.
U.S. District Judge George C. Hanks Jr. accepted the plea and has set sentencing for May 1. At that time, Coleman faces up to five years in federal prison as well as a possible $250,000 maximum fine. Coleman was permitted to remain on bond pending that hearing.
FEMA urges concerned citizens to report corruption, fraud, waste, abuse, mismanagement or misconduct to the DHS OIG Hotline.