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Press Release

National Center For Disaster Fraud Combats Fraud Related To Historic Flooding In Baton Rouge Area

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Middle District of Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, LA – The National Center for Disaster Fraud (“NCDF”) announced today its efforts to combat disaster fraud related to the historic flooding event in the Baton Rouge region in August 2016.  

The NCDF – which includes over 30 federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies - was established by the U.S. Department of Justice following Hurricane Katrina and is led by United States Attorney Walt Green who serves as its Executive Director. 

The NCDF provides a nationwide call center for members of the public to report all types of disaster fraud, as well as a team of law enforcement agents who review those reports and make referrals to the appropriate investigative agencies.  It provides de-confliction, coordination, and expertise in handling disaster fraud matters and is focused on protecting disaster victims and any funds dedicated to disaster victims.  The Disaster Fraud Hotline is 1-866-720-5721.

The NCDF has received more than 68,000 complaints involving over 40 different disasters, resulting in over 50,000 referrals to law enforcement agencies.  With regard to the flooding in Baton Rouge specifically, the NCDF has already received over 1200 complaints.  

U.S. Attorney and NCDF Executive Director Green stated: “The NCDF and its partners are united in the common belief that those who fraudulently exploit tragedy and disaster for personal gain must be aggressively investigated and prosecuted.  I am proud of the vast coalition of law enforcement agencies for every level that have come together under the NCDF umbrella to combat those fraudsters who invariably seek to take advantage of communities suffering from disasters.”

Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry stated:  “Our office will continue to do all we can to assist those impacted by the flooding.  From receiving and investigating consumer complaints to educating victims of potential scams, the Louisiana Department of Justice remains dedicated to serving the people of our State and their precious tax dollars.  We stand united with our partners to ensure the storm’s victims receive the help they need and do not fall prey to those who want to exploit the system.”

FBI New Orleans Division Special Agent in Charge Jeffrey Sallet stated: “Unfortunately, not only has our state witnessed yet another catastrophic disaster, but along with these floods comes the possibility for fraud and abuse regarding disaster relief funding.  While Louisiana residents are attempting to rebuild and repair their lives and homes, there are those who will try to take advantage of the situation and attempt to illegally acquire funds they are not entitled to.  The FBI New Orleans Division will continue to seamlessly work with our federal, state and local partners in order to investigate fraudulent claims and contractor abuse.”

“It is disheartening that in the aftermath of a natural disaster, criminal elements attempt to steal funds intended to provide relief to victims,” said Michael Breslin, Special Agent in Charge of the U.S. Secret Service’s Criminal Investigative Division. “Disaster related fraud is not only detrimental to our nation’s financial infrastructure, it slows the process of providing much needed resources to those who have lost so much. For this reason, the Secret Service remains a committed partner of the National Center for Disaster Fraud and will relentlessly protect the process to provide financial relief to the victims.”

“The DHS Office of Inspector General has been an enthusiastic participant in the National Center for Disaster Fraud Task Force since its inception,” said Inspector General John Roth.  “We continue to work with our Task Force partners to address and combat waste, fraud, and abuse arising out of the recent flooding in Louisiana, ensuring that FEMA emergency assistance is going to the disaster survivors that need it.  Suspected fraud or scams should be reported toll-free to the Disaster Fraud Hotline at 1-866-720-5721.” 

District Attorney Ricky Babin of the 23rd Judicial District Court stated: “The flood of 2016 has brought unprecedented human and financial loss to our communities.  The 23rd Judicial District Attorney’s office is proud to join our Federal and State law enforcement partners to hold accountable any person who engages in fraud or attempts to take advantage of the victims of this natural disaster.  The victims of this event have already suffered staggering devastation.   This joint effort will pool our resources to focus on predatory practices that may cause further losses.”

Ascension Parish Sheriff Jeffrey Wiley stated: “The last thing that victims of flood damage need is to be victimized again. This task force will involve all levels of law enforcement and will serve an important mission, to protect those that need it the most.”

Federal Agencies

  1. U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Louisiana
  2. U.S. Department of Justice, Criminal Division
  3. U.S. Department of Justice, Antitrust Division
  4. U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Division
  5. U.S. Secret Service
  6. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Office of Inspector General
  7. Federal Bureau of Investigation
  8. NOAA Office of Law Enforcement
  9. U.S. Coast Guard, Inspective Service
  10. U.S. Postal Inspection Service
  11. U.S. Department of Defense, Criminal Investigative Service
  12. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Inspector General
  13. U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Investigations
  14. U.S. General Services Administration, Office of Inspector General
  15. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General
  16. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Office of Inspector General
  17. U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General
  18. U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Inspector General
  19. U.S. Social Security Administration, Office of Inspector General
  20. U.S. Postal Service, Office of Inspector General
  21. U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

State Agencies

  1. Louisiana Attorney General’s Office
  2. District Attorney’s Office for the 19th Judicial District
  3. District Attorney’s Office for the 23rd Judicial District
  4. District Attorney’s Office for the 21st Judicial District
  5. Louisiana State Police
  6. Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
  7. Baton Rouge Police Department
  8. Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office
  9. Livingston Parish Sheriff’s Office
  10. East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office
Updated October 14, 2016