New Orleans Woman Charged With Theft of Government Funds
From the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of Louisiana:
NEW ORLEANS – United States Attorney Duane A. Evans announced that DEDRA BRIGHT (“BRIGHT”), age 64, of New Orleans, Louisiana, was charged on February 2, 2023 by an indictment for Theft of Government Funds, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641.
According to the indictment, from November 2008 to November 2020, BRIGHT knowingly accessed and converted approximately $194,127.80 in Social Security Administration and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES ACT”) funds.
U.S. Attorney Duane A. Evans reiterated that the indictment is merely a charge and that the guilt of the defendant must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office would also like to acknowledge the assistance of the Social Security Administration, Office of the Inspector General, with this matter. The prosecution of this case is being handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicholas Moses and Assistant U.S. Attorney Brian M. Klebba, Chief of the Financial Crimes Unit.
In May 2021, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud. The Task Force bolsters efforts to investigate and prosecute the most culpable domestic and international criminal actors and assists agencies tasked with administering relief programs to prevent fraud by augmenting and incorporating existing coordination mechanisms, identifying resources and techniques to uncover fraudulent actors and their schemes, and sharing and harnessing information and insights gained from prior enforcement efforts. For more information on the department’s response to the pandemic, please visit https://www.justice.gov/coronavirus.
Anyone with information about allegations of attempted fraud involving COVID-19 can report it by calling the Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Hotline via the NCDF Web Complaint Form at https://www.justice.gov/disaster-fraud/ncdf-disaster-complaint-form.