FEMA Continues to Squander Millions in Katrina Aid

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WASHINGTON (AP) - A new audit finds tens of millions of dollars still being wasted on aid for Hurricane Katrina victims.

Federal investigators say that includes 17 million dollars in bogus rental payments to people who had already received free trailers and apartments.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency has recovered less than
one percent of the one billion dollars it wasted on fraudulent assistance after the August 2005 storm.

The report by the Government Accountability Office to be released today paints a picture of an agency still struggling to find the balance between getting aid quickly to those in need and guarding against abuse.

The audit found numerous aid applicants received duplicate rental aid. In one case, FEMA gave free apartments to ten people in Plano, Texas, while sending them 46-thousand dollars to cover out-of-pocket housing expenses.

Another 20 million dollars was wasted on thousands of individuals who claimed the same property damage from both Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. FEMA also paid at least three million dollars to more than 500 ineligible foreign students in the stricken Gulf Coast.

(Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)