FEMA: Report Disaster Fraud

Thursday, June 10, 2010 | 06:04 pm

NASHVILLE – Fraud is a rare occurrence during disaster recovery. However, if it does occur, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has a responsibility to take action. People who intentionally try to defraud the government are taking money away from those who truly need assistance. FEMA must ensure that taxpayer dollars go only to people who incurred legitimate losses. This may include prosecuting anyone who makes a fraudulent claim.

Most cases of possible fraud are not deliberate attempts to defraud the federal government. FEMA recommends that applicants receiving grant money keep receipts to show how funds were used.

Anyone with information about an individual – maybe a contractor, an inspector, a disaster survivor or someone posing as any of these – who may have defrauded the government in connection with the Tennessee disaster, should call the FEMA Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721. The call is completely confidential.

For individuals who feel they have made a mistake in reporting their damages or losses, FEMA encourages them to call the disaster assistance helpline at 800-621-FEMA (3362) or (TTY) 800-462-7585 for those with speech and hearing disabilities. The helpline operates from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m., and assistance is available in all languages.

FEMA’s Office of Inspector General routinely audits individuals, local governments and nonprofit organizations that 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.

Follow the recovery in Tennessee online at http://twitter.com/tema, www.twitter.com/femainfocus, http://www.facebook.com/TNDisasterInfo, www.youtube.com/fema and http://www.flickr.com/photos/t_e_m_a.

The social media links provided are for reference only. FEMA and TEMA do not endorse any non-government websites, companies or applications.

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.

Disaster recovery assistance is available without regard to race, color, religion, nationality, sex, age, disability, English proficiency or economic status.  If you or someone you know has been discriminated against, call FEMA toll-free at 800-621-FEMA (3362). For TTY call 800-462-7585.