Archdiocese of New Orleans to pay $1M for allegations of false claims after Hurricane Katrina

From 2007 to 2013 the archdiocese allegedly falsified documents in an attempt to get federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for repairs to church buildings
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The Department of Justice seal
The Department of Justice seal
(Brendan Smialowksi / Getty Images)

The Justice Department on Monday announced that the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New Orleans has agreed to pay more than $1 million to resolve allegations that it “knowingly submitting false claims for payment” after Hurricane Katrina. 

According to a statement from the DOJ, from 2007 to 2013 the archdiocese allegedly falsified documents in an attempt to get federal funds from the Federal Emergency Management Administration for repairs to church buildings, including an alleged “non-existent central air conditioning system.”

“Federal disaster funds are an instrumental component in the effort to assist disaster victims with their recovery,” said the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Louisiana. “The favorable resolution of this…matter illustrates the collaborative efforts and firm commitment by our federal partners to use all available remedies to address signs of fraud, waste and abuse.”

In a whistleblower lawsuit from an employee who worked for the company AECOM, which compiled the alleged false repair estimates for the archdiocese, says the church received $46 million more than it should have. 

“Funds fraudulently obtained from FEMA deprive deserving recipients and communities truly in need,” said Homeland Security Inspector General Dr. Joseph V. Cuffari.

The archdiocese agreed to pay $1.05 million over a period of two years.