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Stiff Sentence Looms|for Hurricane Fraud

HOUSTON (CN) - A Galveston man convicted of filing a Hurricane Ike claim on a home he does not own faces up to 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine for FEMA fraud.

Patrick Prendergast Jr., 54, was arrested in September and charged with filing the phony claim, the U.S. Attorney's Office said in a statement.

"During the 5-day trial, the United States presented evidence from eight witnesses establishing that Prendergast submitted a FEMA Hurricane Ike claim on a house he did not actually own," the U.S. Attorney's Office said. "As a result of the claim, Prendergast received approximately $14,000 from FEMA. Prendergast also received a $75,000 from the Community Development Block Grant to remodel the home, which belonged to his mother. The fraud was detected before the remodeling was complete."

Officials told The Associated Press the house was his mother's second home, and did not qualify for Hurricane Ike relief.

Prendergast was convicted in a jury trial. He will be sentenced on May 4.

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