Today, the Department of Justice released the Fifth Anniversary Report of the Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force
(PDF). The Task Force was created in September 2005 to deter, detect and prosecute individuals who attempt to take advantage of Hurricane Katrina by committing frauds and related crimes.
Since its creation, the Task Force has expanded to combat all types of fraud related to other natural and manmade disasters throughout the United States and abroad, including the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.
In cases related to Hurricanes Katina, Rita and Wilma alone, the Task Force has prosecuted 1,360 individuals in 47 federal districts throughout the country. These prosecutions have involved a 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 joint command center, which is now called the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF). The NCDF provides nationwide access for the public to report information about disaster-related fraud by phone, fax, email and regular mail. The NCDF also provides law enforcement agencies with a centralized process for receiving and sharing this information and coordinating any related investigations.
Since 2005, the NCDF has received, screened and processed reports of fraud related to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Ike, Gustav, and severe storms in more than 20 different states, as well as earthquakes, tsunamis and wildfires.
To further its efforts in fighting disaster fraud related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the Department of Justice is hosting a law enforcement training and coordination conference today for prosecutors, federal criminal investigative agencies and inspectors general. At the conference, law enforcement representatives will share information on best practices for investigating and prosecuting disaster-related fraud and discuss plans to maximize coordination on oil-spill fraud cases.
The Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force includes the Criminal, Civil and Antitrust Divisions of the Department Justice; U.S. Attorneys Offices through the country; the FBI; the Internal Revenue Service Criminal investigation Division; the U.S. Postal Inspection Service; the U.S. Secret Service; the Department of Homeland Security; the Federal Trade Commission; the Securities and Exchange Commission; Inspectors General from 20 federal agencies; and representatives of state and local law enforcement.
For more information, read the Hurricane Katrina Task Force Fifth Anniversary Report to the Attorney General
Members of the public can report fraud, waste, abuse or allegations of mismanagement related to the oil spill 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. Individuals can also report criminal activity to the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.