Archdiocese of New Orleans to Pay $1 Million to Settle FEMA Fraud Claims | #phishing | #scams | #education | #technology | #infosec

The archdiocese had previously denied those accusations but declined to comment on Tuesday on the settlement with the government, which did not require it to admit participating in fraud. The agreement, which was approved by a federal judge as part of the bankruptcy proceedings for the archdiocese, was earlier reported by and announced by the Justice Department on Monday.

Xavier previously agreed to pay $12 million to resolve the accusations against it, the Justice Department said, and the lawsuit against AECOM is ongoing. The firm declined to comment on Tuesday but had previously said it would “vigorously defend” its work.

The federal government joined Mr. Romero’s complaint in 2020 and later added the Louisiana Department of Education as a defendant, accusing it of also misrepresenting damage to obtain fraudulent funds.

“Unfortunately, when there is government money, there is often fraud,” said Jeffrey Dickstein, a lawyer representing Mr. Romero who is also a former federal prosecutor. “And when there is a lot of government money, there is a lot of fraud.”

AECOM has been a FEMA contractor since 1997, according to the company’s 2007 annual report. FEMA came under significant fire after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita for the extent of fraudulent or improper payments made by the agency, which were estimated to total anywhere from $600 million to $1.4 billion, according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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