WASHINGTON – In response to the Red River flooding in North Dakota and Minnesota and subsequent relief efforts, the National Center for Disaster Fraud is reminding members of the public to be aware of and report any instances of alleged fraudulent activity related to relief operations and funding for victims.
Members of the public can report fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations through the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721, the Disaster Fraud Fax at 225-334-4707 or the Disaster Fraud e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Individuals can also report criminal activity to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
In anticipation of an unprecedented amount of fraud associated with federal disaster relief programs that went into effect following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, a Joint Command Center was established in Baton Rouge, La., to coordinate the huge number of reports of fraud. The Command Center, now known as the National Center for Disaster Fraud, has received and screened more than 33,000 complaints of disaster fraud and referred more than 22,000 of those to law enforcement for investigation. The established infrastructure has helped victims of fraud related to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Ike and Gustav, as well as the Iowa floods and California wildfires in 2008.
To date, the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force has brought charges against 1,245 defendants in 46 judicial districts. The Task Force is chaired by the Assistant Attorney General of the Criminal Division.