Katrina victim says FEMA demanded money back 7 years later

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Katrina victim says FEMA demanded money back 7 years later

A Florida woman said she was forced to pay back thousands of dollars she received from the Federal Emergency Management Agency after Hurricane Katrina.

Deborah Campbell said the IRS came after her seven years after she got the money.

"We were guaranteed that this was not needed to be repaid," the Jacksonville resident said. 

But Campbell said that guarantee didn’t last with FEMA.

"Five years ago I was transferred to Florida with my job and that's when everything started," Campbell said. 

Campbell was living in Louisiana with two other roommates in a quadplex when Hurricane Katrina hit and their place flooded, so they looked to FEMA for assistance.

"We were each given monies for our own personal possessions, which we had to prove," Campbell said. 

And over a nine-month period, she said she got a total of $12,000. Then in 2013, she said she was expecting her income tax refund in the mail.

“I get no income taxes, but I got a letter from IRS that FEMA directed them to take my income tax to reimburse them," Campbell said. 

She said her paychecks were garnished and she didn’t get income tax refunds for three years. 

"They're saying that they paid multiple people in the same household although there could only be one head of household, although we were all on the lease and had individual bills," Campbell said. 

FEMA said that payment could only go to one person per household and it goes to the person who pays taxes on that piece of property. 

"I really worry about these people in a hurricane situation now, in a roommate situation," Campbell said. 

And now, after hurricanes Harvey and Irma, Campbell is now fearful this could happen to someone else. 

"Please, please just watch because I don't want this to happen," Campbell said. 

Campbell said she finally paid everything off, but now the same thing is happening to her former roommate 12 years later.

A spokesman from FEMA said a notice should have been received about an overpayment. 

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