Three arrested on charges of defrauding state disaster relief program

Published 2:13 pm Tuesday, August 2, 2022

BATON ROUGE – Three Louisiana residents face felony charges after allegedly defrauding a state program that offers sales tax refunds on personal property destroyed in a natural disaster.

Based on a Presidential declaration, citizens can apply for a refund of sales tax they paid on items lost during a declared disaster.

Starr Carbo, Johnnie Mae Ricard and Erica Williams, all of Westwego, are charged in connection with fraudulently preparing and submitting Natural Disaster Claim for Refund of State Sales Taxes Paid forms following Hurricane Ida in 2021.

Investigators with the Louisiana Department of Revenue (LDR) say the three women, working for Global Tax Service, charged clients as much as $110 to prepare and submit the sales tax refund form using false information and inflating the value of the losses. The company’s clients told investigators they had not provided the information that was submitted on their behalf.

Carbo, Ricard and Williams were booked into the East Baton Rouge Parish Prison on charges of Injuring Public Records, which can result in a sentence of up to five years and fines of up to $5,000.

LDR wants the citizens of Louisiana to know that the Natural Disaster Claim form is available for free on its website, revenue.louisiana.gov.

“LDR is committed to preserving the funds available to those who qualify for this program and continues its investigation into disaster related fraud,” said Secretary of Revenue Kevin Richard.