September 22, 2005

This was inevitable

One of the unfortunate hazards of good deeds.
Three family members have been arrested for allegedly accepting free housing, food, clothes and furniture while posing as victims of Hurricane Katrina, authorities said.

SanJuana Huerta-Sierra, her daughter Yesentia Alverez-Huerta, 25; and Alverez-Huerta's fiance, Wayne M. Lambert, 33, were being held Wednesday in Macon County Jail. Officials at the jail did not know whether they had attorneys.

The Decatur community group TeamHope Katrina had been helping the family and others displaced by Hurricane Katrina, which killed more than 1,000 and displaced thousands when it struck the Gulf Coast region.

The family received several donations from the community, said Detective Sgt. Gary Buenting.

"We gave them a four-bedroom house, clothing, towels, sheets, furniture, food," Volunteer Theresa Terry told The (Springfield) State Journal-Register. "We were pretty much handing them a plateful of anything they would need to get going."

After family members had told inconsistent stories, the group stop giving them donations after Sunday, Kelly Wingard, also of TeamHope, told the (Decatur) Herald & Review.

The Mid-Illinois Chapter of the American Red Cross also gave the family at least two debit cards to use for expenses, said Executive Director Dennis Eller.
Just glad they were caught. This type of thing is no doubt going on by the hundreds across the country. Rather than being a reason to not be generous, it's just a very unfortunate fact that the very poor who were not in the storm's path will be sorely tempted to take advantage of such generous aid.


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