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Five arrested in connection with Katrina fraud in Jackson County

Five people have been arrested in connection with three Katrina fraud cases in Jackson County.

Officials with the state Auditor's Office identified those arrested as Richard Lee Knight, Preston Ladnier Saucier, Jacob Wayne Innabinit, Peter Howard and Robert Smith.

Knight, 53, of Natchez, was indicted on a charge of felony home repair fraud. The state auditor's office said Knight is accused of receiving $27,000 in post-Katrina disaster funds to repair a Gautier home but the work that he performed did not meet local, state and federal building code requirements.

Saucier, 28, and Innabinit, 28, both of Mobile, were doing business under the name, AfterMath Construction, and were allegedly paid a $4,000 deposit to do work on an Ocean Springs home that was never started. They were each indicted on a felony charge of false pretense. Their bonds were set at $5,000 each.

Howard, 48, of Gulf Shores, Ala., and Smith, 52, of Theodore, Ala., were each indicted on federal home repair fraud charges. The two men, both with Pelican Bay Custom Homes, allegedly received $284,188 for a modular home that was delivered to a Pascagoula homeowner but never assembled.

Katrina fraud investigators first arrested Howard and Smith in June and charged them with one count each of felony false pretense. In that case, they're accused of taking a deposit from another homeowner for a modular home that was never built.

Jackson County District Attorney Tony Lawrence presented evidence in the cases to a grand jury for indictments. Special agents with the Katrina Fraud Prevention and Detection Unit in the state Auditor's Office conducted the investigations.

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