TEXARKANA — Six counts of felony theft of property have been filed in Arkansas against a Texarkana, Texas, woman on accusations that she sold FEMA trailers as livable housing units when they were classified as scrap, records show.
Cindy Wade, 58, will make her first appearance Tuesday in Little River County Circuit Court. If convicted, theft of property carries a potential sentence of five to 20 years in prison and a maximum fine of $15,000 or both.
Wade was arrested earlier this week at the Little River County sheriff ’s office in Ashdown. She posted $10,000 bond and was released.
The investigation involved mobile homes originally purchased by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for use in natural disasters. In 2009, FEMA began reducing its inventory of mobile homes to save money on storage costs.
The Wade investigation began June 2, 2009, when the General Services Administration’s Office of the Inspector General received information from the Arkansas attorney general’s office about a complaint against Wade selling the FEMA mobile homes to individuals “as livable units” when the mobile homes were classified as scrap. The person complaining was not listed in the arrest affidavit.
The inspector general’s office contacted the General Services Administration’s property management division and confirmed that Wade, serving as manager ofJ-LU Limited Co., purchased 15 mobile homes in three GSA auctions.
Wade purportedly told the “complainant” that the mobile homes could be used as housing, according to the affidavit.
The General Services Administration auction website states that “the mobile homes were not to be used for housing,” according to the arrest affidavit.
Records at the General Services Administration’s property division show Wade signed a buyer’s certification after each of the three sales indicating the mobile homes would not be used for housing.
“The buyer’s certification indicates Wade is supposed to inform subsequent buyers the mobile homes were not to be used as housing and provide buyers with the accompanying documentation,” according to the arrest affidavit.
The arrest affidavit shows that General Services Administration officers interviewed at least six people between Oct. 28, 2009, and July 22, 2010, who had purchased mobile homes from Wade.
Although all of the purchasers apparently received bills of sale, none received titles to the mobile homes, according to the affidavit. None of the people said he received any additional documents when the sales were completed, and none said he was told that the mobile homes could not be lived in.