SACRAMENTO, Calif. —Kristen Canapary, 53, of Butte County, pleaded guilty today to making false statements in an application for FEMA benefits in connection with the 2018 Paradise Camp Fire, Acting U.S. Attorney Phillip A. Talbert announced.
According to court documents, FEMA provided disaster benefits to certain qualified individuals whose primary residence was damaged or destroyed in the Camp Fire. Canapary filed a claim for FEMA disaster benefits falsely listing a rental home she formerly lived in as her primary residence at the time of the fire in November 2018. According to the property owner, Canapary vacated the home earlier in the year, and the home had remained vacant while undergoing renovations. As a result of Canapary’s claim that her primary residence was damaged by the Camp Fire, she was given money for rental assistance and the replacement of essential personal property purportedly destroyed with her home. She was also provided with approximately 13 months of temporary FEMA housing.
This case is the product of an investigation by the Department of Homeland Security Office of the Inspector General. Assistant U.S. Attorney Shelley D. Weger is prosecuting the case.
Canapary is scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Troy L. Nunley on Dec. 16, 2021. Canapary faces a maximum statutory penalty of 30 years in prison and a $250,000 fine. The actual sentence, however, will be determined at the discretion of the court after consideration of any applicable statutory factors and the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, which take into account a number of variables.
Members of the public who suspect fraud involving disaster relief efforts, including California wildfires or COVID-19 relief efforts, or who believe they have been a victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721. Alternatively, information can be submitted via email to DHSOIGHotline@dhs.gov.
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