It looks like at least 203 out of 319 funeral payments made by FEMA for hurricane deaths last year were fraudulent, and were for deaths totally unrelated to any hurricanes.

The federal government used hurricane aid money to pay funeral expenses for at least 203 Floridians whose deaths were not caused by last year's storms, the state's coroners have concluded.

The deaths include a Palm Beach Gardens millionaire recovering from heart surgery who died two days before Hurricane Frances; a Miami baby not yet born when the storm arrived; and a Port Charlotte man who died of cirrhosis and heart failure five months after Hurricane Charley.

In two other cases, coroners could find no record of the people dying.

"I can't begin to tell you what these people did to get some funding," said Rebecca Hamilton, medical examiner for Lee County, where hurricane funeral claims included a hospice patient and two people who died of cancer. "None of those cases were even remotely associated with any kind of a hurricane."

The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a total of 319 hurricane funeral claims in Florida for $1.3 million. But most of those people died from natural ailments, suicides or accidents unrelated to the storms, the coroners concluded.

Most. Most. And this is small-time fraud, only $1.3 million total. If you think the federal bureaucracy isn't absolutely rife with corruption then you're deluding yourself. The only solution is to drastically shrink the size and scope of the bureaucracy.



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