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Judge Finds Galveston's Flagship Hotel Owner Incompetent to Stand Trial:
Accused of Bilking the Government of $232,000 in Claims for
 Phantom Hurricane Katrina Lodgers

By Kevin Moran, Houston ChronicleMcClatchy-Tribune Business News

Oct. 4, 2006 - A federal judge has declared the principal owner of Galveston's Flagship Hotel incompetent to stand trial on charges he bilked the government of $232,000 in claims for phantom lodgers under hurricane-relief programs.

But U.S. District Judge Sam Kent said Daniel Yeh, 53, of Sugar Land, can be kept at The Institute for Rehabilitation and Research in Houston or a federal facility for a maximum of four months to determine whether Yeh's problems with brain tumors improve and make it possible for him to stand trial.

Yeh attorney Robert S. Bennett said Tuesday that he plans to ask Kent to order Yeh kept at the local institute rather than at any federal facility prosecutors might deem appropriate.

In a Sept. 27 order, Kent recommended only that prosecutors consider the institute as one possible place at which to keep Yeh for four months.

Bennett said Yeh already is at the institute for treatment of re-occurring brain tumors.

The indictment claims Yeh filed false claims in the names of hotel employees, friends, relatives and Hurricane Katrina evacuees who never stayed at the hotel.

After federal agents raided his home in December and confiscated computers and documents, Yeh sent the government $250,000 in reimbursements, Bennett said.

kevin.moran@chron.com

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Copyright (c) 2006, Houston Chronicle

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