The devastation that Louisiana and it residents went through in the Summer and Fall of 2005 is still being felt in many part of our state. A program designed to help families affected by Hurricane Katrina and Hurricane Rita is now showing a slight imbalance in the bookkeeping.

By slight imbalance the figure is $939 million dollars. According to a state audit that's the amount of money that was distributed to homeowners and residents who did not fulfill the requirements of the program.  Legislative auditor Daryl Purpera told the Louisiana Radio Network that there appear to be many cases where homeowners accepted the money and did not utilize it under the guidance of the program.

"And what we're finding is a large portion of the documentation and the files of the state don't prove that the individuals actually rebuilt their homes, or reoccupied their homes, or got the flood insurance and the various things they were supposed to get."

Does this mean the state will owe a huge bill and be forced to repay the Federal Government for these discrepancies? Purpera thinks that the scope of the program would make it very difficult for anyone to recover ill gotten gains.

"When this program began, I believe the folks at the Housing and Urban Development, they understood they were getting into new territory and designed a program that had some risk in the very beginning."

To make matters worse, the auditor believes the $939 million dollar figure is only going to be the tip of the iceberg when it comes the actual amount of funding that was misappropriated.  Purpera suggested the real number when all is said and done could be closer to three billion dollars that was authorized for unauthorized recipients.


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