Judge Ripped Off Disaster Relief Fund, Feds Say

     HOUSTON (CN) – A former justice of the peace was arrested Monday on charges of lying to get $120,000 in Hurricane Ike federal disaster benefits.
     James Dinkins, 64, of Conroe, was indicted on five counts of disaster relief fraud, the U.S. Department of Justice said in a statement.
     Dinkins is a former Montgomery County justice of the peace, according to news reports. The county is directly north of Houston’s Harris County.
     “According to allegations in the indictment, Dinkins filed applications for disaster benefits with both the SBA and the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike,” federal prosecutors said, abbreviating the Small Business Administration, which runs a loan program to help natural disaster victims. “In both applications, Dinkins misrepresented that his primary residence was in Galveston County, Texas.”
     If convicted, Dinkins faces up to 30 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine.

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