Arkansas Woman Sentenced to Ten Months for Katrina Scam

JUNE 14, 2006 - Posted at 7:50 a.m. CST

LITTLE ROCK, AR - A woman who allegedly posed as a Hurricane Katrina refugee has been sentenced to ten months in federal prison.

Prosecutors say 24-year-old Chandra Louise Baskin of Conway and her boyfriend pretended they were storm victims and collected $4,500 in benefits from the government and from the American Red Cross.

Baskin earlier pleaded guilty to theft of federal public benefits.  The boyfriend, Robert Lorenzo Stiger, pleaded guilty to the same charge.  Stiger, who is also from Conway, has not been sentenced.

Authorities were tipped by an anonymous caller and the two were arrested in Conway at a Days Inn, where they were living at no charge and getting free food.

Baskin and Stiger have been in custody since their November 2 arrest.  Baskin was given credit for time served and ordered to pay full restitution.  After her release, Baskin will have to serve three years probation.  Her sentencing was yesterday in Little Rock before U.S. District Judge Leon Holmes.

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