10/14/2021 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 10/14/2021 10:55
Acting United States Attorney Ellison C. Travis and Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry are urging suspected Hurricane Ida fraud victims to file complaints with the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) via phone at (866) 720-5721 or online at www.justice.gov/DisasterComplaintForm. Since the storm, numerous complaints have been filed regarding contractor, FEMA, and Small Business Administration (SBA) fraud.
The NCDF is a nationwide organization of law enforcement agents that further detects, investigates, and prosecutes those responsible for disaster related fraud. The NCDF Hotline receives complaints that are reviewed by law enforcement and referred to Federal, State, and local agencies for investigation.
Acting U.S. Attorney Travis stated, "My office has no tolerance for criminals who target disaster victims. Working with Attorney General Landry and other federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies, we can protect victims of Ida from criminals who, out of wanton greed, exploit this tragedy for their own gain. Potential fraudsters must know that, under Federal law, there is a 30-year maximum sentence in Federal prison for those who commit fraud related to disasters. My office will continue to act aggressively to bring to justice those who would further harm victims of Hurricane Ida and other disasters. After a storm, fraudulent contractors will target those affected by offering to perform repairs quickly, while at the same time demanding payment before any work is completed. You can avoid becoming a victim by never paying a contractor for work that has not been completed, hiring well-known local contractors with a reputation for performing good work, asking your insurance claim adjuster to review a contract before you sign, ask for proof of liability insurance and state licensure, and never paying with cash since that leaves no trail if an investigation becomes necessary. Payment should only be made with a check or credit/debit card."
"Our office and the NCDF share a common aim to aggressively investigate, apprehend, and prosecute those who exploit calamity for personal reward," said Attorney General Landry. "We stand united with our law enforcement partners to ensure victims of Hurricane Ida receive the help they need and do not fall prey to another tragedy."
If you were visited by a FEMA inspector or received a letter from FEMA or the SBA stating that you have filed a claim for disaster assistance when you have not, you may be a victim of Federal disaster-assistance fraud. If this applies to you, it is important for you to contact FEMA at 800-621-3362, or the SBA at 800-827-5722, to let them know the application is fraudulent.