Dolton woman says FEMA check issued for 2023 flood damage was stolen and cashed

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Friday, May 3, 2024
South suburban woman says FEMA check was stolen and cashed
A Dolton woman said a check from FEMA to help pay for flood damage was stolen and cashed, and now she's struggling to get her money .

DOLTON, Ill. (WLS) -- After suffering through a flood that damaged her home, a south suburban woman said her FEMA federal assistance check was stolen and cashed. Now she's struggling to get the check reissued. After months of struggling to get FEMA to refund her, she turned to the I-Team.

A flood in August 2023 severely damaged Yvonne Bettis's Dolton basement. The water came up about a foot and left her basement floor buckling.

"The floors, the walls, I replaced those," she said.

Bettis has made some repairs, but is still spending money fixing her home.

READ MORE: FEMA hosts urban flooding summit in Chicago

She qualified for disaster assistance with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and they sent her this check for $3,200. Unfortunately, that check was intercepted and cashed by someone else.

A FEMA document analyst concluded Bettis endorsed the check, but the signature on the back is not hers.

"It's not mine and I've never seen the check," she said.

The FEMA check was deposited electronically into a Chase account. Bettis does not use Chase or electronic deposit. She reported the fraud to the Dolton Police and to FEMA.

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"I've been asking since September or October of last year," says Bettis. The letter she received from FEMA says the case is closed and a settlement is not recommended.

So the I-Team reached out to FEMA who sent a statement saying they cannot publicly discuss an applicant's case, but that "If an applicant reports non-receipt of a check, FEMA will issue a stop payment request that is then submitted to the Department of Treasury."

The Treasury then conducts investigations and determines corrective actions.

Weeks later, FEMA told Bettis over the phone that they took a second look at the forged check and re-opened the investigation. She is now patiently waiting to hear back from FEMA.

"I need that $3,212," Bettis said.

If you believe you are a victim of fraud or identity theft, or if someone applied to FEMA using your personal information, the number to call is 800-621-3362.

FEMA says this is important to remember because you should not be reporting to other FEMA and Homeland Security offices.