New Orleans, La., Nov 15, 2021 / 15:24 pm
The Archdiocese of New Orleans will pay more than $1 million in a settlement related to allegations of fraud in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, the Department of Justice announced Nov. 15.
According to the DOJ, the settlement "resolves allegations" that the Archdiocese of New Orleans “knowingly signed certifications for FEMA funding that contained false or fraudulent damage descriptions and repair estimates that were prepared by AECOM, an architecture and engineering firm based in Los Angeles,” from a period lasting from 2007 through 2013.
A former project specialist for AECOM first brought the allegations in a 2016 federal lawsuit, which alleged that the Archdiocese of New Orleans, as well as two historically black New Orleans universities, improperly applied for and received millions of dollars in federal funds in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.
According to the DOJ press release, among the many allegations of fraud received were claims of damage to a central air conditioning unit that never existed, as well as inaccurate reporting of the number of square feet in a facility.