Today, the Department of Justice released the Fiscal Year 2011 Report of the Disaster Fraud Task Force. The task force, originally created as the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force in September 2005, operates to deter, detect and prosecute individuals who attempt to take advantage of natural and man-made disasters by committing frauds and related crimes, including the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In cases related to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma alone, the task force through FY 2011 prosecuted 1,439 individuals in 47 federal districts throughout the country. These prosecutions involved a wide variety of fraudulent activity, including charity scams, government and private-sector benefit fraud, identity theft, contract and procurement fraud, and public corruption.
A key component to the success of the task force is its National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF), based in Baton Rouge, La. “The NCDF provides the public with a single nationwide point of contact to report information about disaster-related fraud,” said Donald J. Cazayoux Jr., U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Louisiana and Executive Director of the NCDF. ”Moreover, it provides law enforcement agencies with an efficient centralized process for receiving those complaints -- whether by phone, email, fax, or letter -- and referring matters to the appropriate agencies for investigation.”
Complaints received by the NCDF to date encompass 49 states, three territories, three foreign countries and 32 named disasters, including hurricanes, severe storms, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires.
The Disaster Fraud Task Force includes the Criminal, Civil and Antitrust Divisions of the Department of Justice; U.S. Attorney’s Offices throughout the country; the FBI; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal investigation Division; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Secret Service; the Federal Trade Commission; the Securities and Exchange Commission; the Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General and Inspectors General from 19 other federal agencies; and representatives of state and local law enforcement.
For more information, read the Disaster Fraud Task Force Report, 2011
Members of the public can report fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement related to any disaster through the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Disaster Fraud Hotline at 877-NCDF-GCF (623-3423), the Disaster Fraud Fax at 225-334-4707 or the Disaster Fraud e-mail at email@example.com.