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James Thomas, a special education teacher in the Bronx, was arrested yesterday for claiming he was participating in Katrina related relief efforts when he was actually in Brazil attending a religious conference. Not just a teacher, but pastor of St. Paul's Evangelical Lutheran Church in the Bronx as well, Thomas used his position in the Air National Guard to fake documents in order to receive four days of pay. The teacher / pastor / lieutenant colonel was charged with forgery and larceny. He was caught and faced firing back in December. This is another example of the DoE cracking down on its own.

Oh, what a tangled web we weave when trying to scam $828. Gothamist wonders how Thomas's prison time compares with the value of his four days' salary. He will probably have to pay it back anyway though.

This is not the first fraud to arise from Hurricane Katrina relief. Recently, fellow New Yorker Donna Fenton was caught fraudulently taking assistance to which she was never entitled.