In the wake of hurricanes Harvey, Irma, Jose, and Maria, the Justice Department is bracing itself for a flood of disaster fraud cases.
In order to coordinate efforts to deal with this type of fraud allegations, the Department of Justice has issued a memo to every US Attorney’s Office, offering specific guidelines to enhance their fraud-fighting efforts.
“Fraud inevitably follows disasters,” criminal justice columnist Tom Jackman said in a recent Washington Post article. Post-disaster scams have multiplied after each natural catastrophe in the US. Katrina has been a notable example. In the aftermath of the hurricane that hit New Orleans in 2005, there were 1,400 federal prosecutions for fraud committed in connection with relief efforts.
In fact, the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) was created in response to the superabundance of Katrina-related fraud allegations. Only a few days after the last of a wave of hurricanes hit several US states, the Center has already received over 400 complaints....