The scale of schemes and caliber of criminals tied to Katrina ranged from high-ranking public officials like former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin to Tina Marie Gilmore, an Illinois woman who tried to collect $4,358 in federal benefits by falsely claiming she watched her two daughters drown.
The 34-year-old told authorities she was so devastated after watching her two little girls — ages 5 and 6 — die before her eyes, she couldn’t eat, sleep, go to work or be in the same room as other children. A little digging revealed Gilmore didn’t even live in New Orleans when Katrina roared through. Her last name wasn’t Gilmore – it’s Winston – and she never had kids. The money she siphoned was spent on a double-wide trailer and a 50-inch television set.
The case, experts say, underscores the depth of deceit people went to during the post-Katrina money grab.