In early February I wrote about corruption by faith based contractors including one Pastor Gary Heldreth of Lighthouse Disaster Relief who received a $5.2 million contract for Katrina disaster relief. Heldreth never did the work but pocketed the $5.2 Million. And the pastor began spending it……
U.S. District Judge James Brady on Monday froze the assets of Lighthouse Disaster Relief and owners Gary Lee Heldreth and Kerry Lynn Farmer one hour after the Department of Justice filed papers claiming the two are “moving money at an alarming pace” — spending it on a motor home and three new cars, and cashing checks $10,000 at a time.
An asset garnishment application asks the judge to “restrain the defendants from continuing to squander, dispose of and waste money wrongly paid them.”
The federal contract called for Lighthouse to be paid only as work was finished. However, the company submitted an invoice for the full $5.2 million just two days after winning the contract and before any construction began. The National Disaster Finance Center — “deluged with Katrina-related invoices,” the lawsuit says — transferred the cash to Lighthouse’s bank account.
The mistake wasn’t discovered until an audit late last month.
Investigators have since determined that Lighthouse Disaster Relief wasn’t even incorporated until October 2005 — a month after it won the FEMA contract.
In its request to freeze assets, federal lawyers describe the “sham” company as “simply a shell that was legally indistinguishable from its co-owners. Besides a bank account, there is nothing in the public records to indicate that Lighthouse ever existed as a corporation or partnership, or anything more than an alias for Heldreth and Farmer.”
An FBI suspicious activity report accompanying the lawsuit alleges Heldreth recently tried to cash a $15,000 check from the account and — when asked for identification — tore it up and wrote another for $10,000.
Neither Heldreth nor Farmer could be located Monday evening for comment.(Emphasis mine)
It’s a mystery how this guy even got the contract. Apparently he got on the approved contractors list. Oversight or did he know somebody? I also could not find any evidence he is indeed a pastor. Is that a sham like his company? So I’ll ask again as I did in February……Can anyone claiming to work for God belly up to Bush’s faith-based tit and suck away with no questions asked?