MIDLOTHIAN, Va. -- When fraud occurs during disaster recovery, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a responsibility to take action.
People who intentionally try to defraud the government are taking money from all of us - taxpayer money authorized by the president and congress for disaster relief. FEMA is charged with ensuring disaster-relief dollars go only to people who incurred legitimate losses. This can include prosecuting anyone making a fraudulent claim.
Most cases in which possible fraud is detected are not deliberate attempts to defraud the federal government. FEMA recommends applicants receiving grant money keep receipts to show how funds were used.
Anyone with information about an individual, who may have defrauded the government in connection with the Virginia earthquake disaster, should call the FEMA Disaster Fraud Hotline, (866) 720-5721. The call is completely confidential.
Information also can be sent to the National Center for Disaster Fraud, Baton Rouge, LA 70821-4909. Fax: 225-334-4707. Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
FEMA's Office of Inspector General routinely audits individuals, local governments and nonprofit organizations who receive FEMA disaster assistance funds. The audits are independent assessments to determine whether recipients spent the funds according to federal regulations and FEMA guidelines. Auditors look at expenditures on ineligible items or instances of duplicate payments from insurance companies or other sources.
FEMA's mission is to support our citizens and first responders to ensure that as a nation we work together to build, sustain, and improve our capability to prepare for, protect against, respond to, recover from, and mitigate all hazards.