Dolton woman gets over $3K from FEMA for flooding damage after thieves steal 1st check agency sent

ByAnn Pistone and Jason Knowles WLS logo
Tuesday, June 11, 2024
Dolton woman gets FEMA funds after thieves steal check from mail
A Dolton resident whose basement was damaged by severe flooding has finally gotten money from FEMA after thieves stole the first aid check they sent.

DOLTON, Ill. (WLS) -- A south suburban woman whose FEMA check was stolen and cashed after her home was damaged by flooding has finally gotten her money with help from the ABC7 I-Team.

Yvonne Bettis qualified for more than $3,000 in federal disaster assistance, but her check was stolen and cashed. She said FEMA would not replace the funds, but after the I-Team stepped in the agency took another look.

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A severe flood damaged Bettis' Dolton basemen tin August 2023, forcing her to replace the floors and walls. She qualified for $3,200 in assistance from FEMA, but the check was intercepted and cashed by thieves.

The signature on the back isn't hers but a FEMA document analyst said Bettis endorsed the check.

"Oh, no, they just had me running around in circles. Over and over," she said. "I sent in different paperwork. They're investigating. And then eventually they just closed it, and I was wondering, how can you close the case when you actually can look at the check and see that I didn't receive it? Nor did I sign it."

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

So Bettis turned to the I-Team. In our May report, she said that because of our inquiries, FEMA told her they would take another look at the situation. Now the decision is in and Bettis received her money.

"I was so happy about it, and I thank you so, so much, you and your team investigating. And I did receive my FEMA check. Oh, love it! Which put a big smile on my face," she said.0

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And FEMA didn't send her a check this time; instead they and the Department of Treasury used electronic deposit.

"No more checks in the mail," Bettis said. "I don't think I want to go that route again."

Now that money will go towards finishing the damaged basement.

"I really did need it. That's why I'm so thankful and grateful that you guys investigated," she said.

FEMA said they cannot publicly discuss an applicant's case, but that if someone reports non-receipt of a check, the agency will issue a stop payment request, which is then submitted to the Department of Treasury.