Home / Man accused of defrauding FEMA after Hurricane Irma

Man accused of defrauding FEMA after Hurricane Irma

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Published: Updated:

Fort Myers Beach resident Kaylee and her family did make it through Hurricane Irma, despite a mom’s worst nightmare, “It was miserable, I truly don’t know how we made it through … I was 8 months pregnant with my 5th child, and our yard was inaccessible,” she said.

Kaylee said she was grateful FEMA helped, allowing her and her family to whether the storm in a hotel.

But a North Fort Myers man, Tommy Tracy, allegedly tried to defraud the system according to the Department of Justice.

“It is unfortunate that someone would take advantage it, especially when there are people who really, really need it,” Kaylee  said,

Tracy owned rental property in the area, and applied for funding from FEMA, saying that the rental property was actually his primary residence and that he was living there when the hurricane struck. But he didn’t.

Fort Myers resident Kelly Mucerino reacted when learning about Tracy’s alleged scheme, “I think it’s ridiculous. There’s a lot of people that had a lot of damage done to their house that didn’t get any fema help at all.”

According to the DOJ, as a result of the man’s false claim, the people living on the rental property, who were entitled to benefits did not receive any.

Tracy is now facing up to 30 years in federal prison, if convicted.

Kaylee said she hopes that people will heed the warning to stop fraud in the future, “If you don’t truly need it, don’t cheat the system. I mean there’s families out there who truly need it. ”

FEMA could not talk to us about this specific case, but says that owners of rental properties should apply for disaster loans from the small business administration not FEMA.