Alleged fraud suspect was convicted five years ago

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 26, 2006

A Greenville woman indicted this past week on charges she fraudulently obtained federal disaster assistance following Hurricane Katrina was convicted in 2001 of identity theft and wire fraud in United States Southern District Court, according to court records.

Alethia Adrianne Scott, 39, faces up to 40 years in prison for allegedly filing false claims with FEMA after Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and receiving checks totaling $26,200. Her application for benefits claimed a trailer she owned in Stockton had suffered extensive damage. Federal prosecutors say Scott did not reside in Stockton, did not own a trailer and did not suffer the losses claimed.

Scott has been charged with four counts of theft of government property.

U.S. Attorney Christopher A. Snyder, lead prosecutor for the government, would not comment directly on Scott's case.

&#8220We believe the factual allegations contained in the indictment will be proven in court,” he said.

Scott was ordered detained by Chief U.S. Magistrate Judge Charles Coody. In the written order, Coody said, &#8220there is a serious risk the defendant will not appear” if released on bail.

Court documents show Scott was indicted in February 2002 for fraud in connection with identification documents, fraud in connection with access devices and wire fraud. After her conviction, she served six months in prison and was placed on three years probation. In 2004, Scott was charged in state court with 15 counts of writing bad checks and pleaded guilty to all charges.

A May 2006 felony assault charge in Butler County is still pending.

&#8220In short,” wrote Coody. &#8220Scott has demonstrated that she is not amenable to supervision and will continue to commit crimes while under supervision.”

Other factors that contributed to Coody's decision was that Scott is unemployed, has failed to appear to answer traffic charges and has a history of psychiatric problems.

Following her initial conviction in 2001, Scott was ordered by the court to participate in a program for mental health treatment.

U.S. Marshals arrested Scott on Aug. 18.

Her trial is scheduled to start on Oct. 30.