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Department of Justice
Office of Public Affairs

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, September 15, 2017

A Message from Attorney General Jeff Sessions to Those Impacted By Hurricanes Irma and Harvey

Remarks of Attorney General Sessions regarding the Department of Justice response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma

Hello. This is Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

On behalf of President Trump and the entire Department of Justice, I want to offer my prayers and support to those devastated by Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. Having personally lived through hurricanes and their aftermath on the Alabama Gulf Coast, I can understand the challenges you face.

The Justice Department is the lead coordinating agency for federal law enforcement supporting FEMA relief operations in hurricane-impacted areas. More than 600 Department of Justice law enforcement officers from throughout the country are already involved in relief efforts, helping local first responders provide medical assistance, aiding in urban search and rescue operations throughout Florida and the Caribbean, assistance with law enforcement duties and offering support however else they can.

Sadly, I must warn that experience tells us that while thousands come forward to help selflessly, there are a few who use the disaster to enrich themselves or promise expertise but lack competence to do professional work. Be careful. And be sure any contributions you make are only going to reputable aid organizations that have proven to be honest and effective.

In the wake of these disasters, the Justice Department is here with ways to avoid becoming a victim of fraud. Since 2005, the Justice Department’s National Center for Disaster Fraud has processed over 70,000 complaints. It operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take disaster fraud complaints. We’ve already received hundreds of complaints in the last month related to Harvey and Irma and they come from all over the country.

We have also worked with the Federal Trade Commission to release antitrust guidance for businesses that want to rebuild their communities. This guidance will ensure that these businesses can work together to rebuild affected communities without violating the antitrust laws.

Finally, I encourage anyone with information about fraud or other illegal behavior to call the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721. With your help, we can make sure that the people hurt most by these tragedies are saved from hurting any more.

Stay safe and God bless.

Press Release Number: 
17-1011
Updated September 15, 2017