St Augustine Planning and Zoning Board vice chairman Deltra Lynette Long, who resides at 65 Osceola Street in St Augustine, was placed under federal indictment Friday; charged with one-count of theft of government funds and one-count of false claims against the government.
Historic City News was informed by US Attorney Maria Chapa Lopez and the Jacksonville Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation that Long is facing a maximum sentence of five-years in federal prison on the theft count, and up to ten-years on the false claims count, if convicted. The indictment also notifies Long that the United States intends to forfeit over $10,000, which is alleged to be traceable to proceeds of the offense.
Long is an entrepreneur in real estate. According to the indictment, after Hurricane Matthew made landfall in Florida on October 3, 2016, she allegedly made a false application for Federal Emergency Management funds to restore storm-damaged rental investment property which she owned but did not occupy. Eligibility for FEMA disaster assistance funds is limited to the primary residence of a homeowner who lives in the premises at the time of the qualifying event.
The 66-year-old Long is a St. Augustine native. She grew up in the historic Lincolnville neighborhood. She and her sister Alice were two of four African-American students to integrate St. Augustine High School in 1965. She was also the first African-American to make the honor roll there in 1966, before graduating with the Class of 1968.
Long went on to earn her associate degree from St Johns River Junior College; a bachelor’s degree from the University of West Florida; a master’s degree from the University of South Florida and her juris doctor degree from the Florida Coastal School of Law.
Long is a visible leader in the St Johns County Chapter of the NAACP, the City’s Accountability Group, and she is a current member, and former trustee, of St Paul AME Church.
She is a retired guidance counselor with the St Johns County School District, a founding board member of Habitat for Humanity, she serves other boards including the Community Hospice Advisory Board Council; Community Leadership Council and she is a member of Rotary of St. Augustine, Inc.
An indictment is merely a formal charge that a defendant has violated one or more of the federal criminal laws, and every defendant is presumed innocent unless, and until, proven guilty.
This case was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General, and the US Small Business Administration Office of Inspector General. It will be prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Jay Taylor.
Historic City News readers who suspect fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, or believe they have been the victim of fraud from a person or organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of disaster victims, should contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721. Also visit justice.gov/usao-mdfl