Indictments handed down in fraud case involving wildfire victim funds
Several people face charges in Sevier County for an alleged scheme to get money from the Dollywood Foundation that was meant for victims of the November fire disaster.
Newly unsealed indictments obtained by NBC affiliate WBIR show the defendants used other people's addresses to get the grant money from the My People Fund, set up by entertainer Dolly Parton after a Nov. 28, 2016, fire swept into Gatlinburg and other parts of Sevier County.
According to documents, defendants submitted other false information. They were ineligible for the aid, which was being offered to help people who lost jobs and homes in the disaster.
A blaze that began as arson Nov. 23 in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park moved into Gatlinburg. Other fires also broke out, caused by downed power lines and driven by high winds.
More than 2,400 buildings were damaged or destroyed in Sevier County. The estimated damage was more than a billion dollars.
Among those charged with money laundering and criminal conspiracy are Chad Chambers, Debra Kay Catlett and Rocco Boscaglia.
Catlett and Chambers also are charged with theft over $1,000. Boscaglia and Chambers also are charged with theft over $500.
None of the employees are associated with the Dollywood Foundation itself.
The foundation's My People Fund has distributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to fire victims to help them recover.