FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
TUESDAY - April 26, 2011
REMINDER: REPORT DISASTER RELATED FRAUD
RALEIGH - United States Attorney George E.B. Holding is urging residents and business in Eastern North Carolina to be aware of and report suspected fraudulent activity related to tornado relief operations and federal funding for the victims.
“Relief funds are given to assist those who have suffered tremendous loss so that they may begin to put their lives back together,” stated Mr. Holding. “We will not tolerate those who try to obtain these funds fraudulently. Investigators and prosecutors stand ready to perform their duties. If you suspect fraudulent activity, please contact the National Disaster Fraud Hotline.”
Members of the public can report fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations through the National Disaster Fraud Hotline toll free at (866) 720-5721 or the Disaster Fraud e-mail at email@example.com. The telephone line is staffed by a live operator 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
Members of the public are reminded to apply a critical eye before giving contributions to anyone soliciting donations on behalf of tornado victims. Solicitations can originate from e-mails, websites, door-to-door collections, mailings and telephone calls, and similar methods.
In anticipation of unprecedented fraud in connection with federal disaster relief following Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma, a Joint Command Center was established in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to coordinate reports of fraud. The Command Center, now known as the National Center for Disaster Fraud, has since expanded its mission to include suspected fraud from any natural or manmade disaster. More than 20 federal agencies participate in the center, allowing it to act as a centralized clearinghouse of information. If you believe you have been a victim of fraud from a person or an organization soliciting relief funds on behalf of flood victims, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud toll free at (866) 720-5721. You can also fax information to (225) 334-4707 or e-mail it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
News releases are available on the U. S. Attorney’s web page at www.usdoj.gov/usao/nce within 48 hours of release.