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View Full Version : Auditors Find Huge Fraud in FEMA Aid



SnakebyteXX
02-11-2006, 03:17 PM
WASHINGTON, Feb. 10 —

Thousands of applicants for federal emergency relief money after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita used duplicate or invalid Social Security numbers or bogus addresses, suggesting that the $2.3 billion program was a victim of extensive fraud, a Congressional auditor will report Monday.

The examination of the so-called Expedited Assistance program determined that the Federal Emergency Management Agency failed to take even the most basic steps to confirm the identifies of about 1.4 million people who sought expedited cash assistance, leaving the program vulnerable to the "significant fraud and abuse," the Government Accountability Office intends to report.

The auditors did not try to estimate the total dollar amount of fraudulent claims. But the report says that FEMA itself had found that 900,000 of the 2.5 million applications for all forms of individual assistance were "potential duplicates."

Even when FEMA's automated computer system picked out what might be fraudulent applications, payments were at times still sent, says the advance testimony of Gregory D. Kutz, the managing director of the G.A.O.'s forensic audits unit.

The controls were so lax that auditors were able to secure their own $2,000 relief check by using "falsified identifies, bogus addresses and fabricated disaster stories," and then simply waiting for the money to arrive in the mail, says the report for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, a copy of which was obtained by The New York Times.

Nicol Andrews, a FEMA spokeswoman, said the agency recognized there could be fraud. But Ms. Andrews said the priority was getting aid as fast as possible to hundreds of thousands of families in dire need.

"We took a calculated risk in a catastrophic situation," she said. "It was the right thing to do. Unfortunately, some may have cheated the system."

She added that some arrests have been made. The agency is also suspending payments to people suspected of trying to cheat the system.

Still, the auditors found signs of fraud nearly everywhere:

¶Nearly half of the 11,000 individuals who received special debit cards as payment — an approach used in the immediate aftermath of the storm in Texas — got a second $2,000 payment in emergency aid.

¶Inspections of 200 properties in Texas and Louisiana listed as home addresses turned up 80 that were vacant lots or nonexistent apartments.

¶More than half of a group of 248 other applicants had used Social Security numbers that were never issued, belonged to dead people or did not match the name provided.

In one case, auditors found 17 individuals, some with the same last name and addresses, who used 34 bogus Social Security numbers to collect more than $103,000 in payments.

Auditors found isolated instances where the electronic debit cards were used to pay for "adult entertainment," a .45-caliber handgun, jewelry or bail bond services.

web page (http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/11/politics/11report.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

Gayle in MD
02-12-2006, 06:18 AM
I wonder how many billions of our tax dollars have been stolen through inefficiency and corruption in this administration. I'm sure we'll never know the true number.

Gayle in Md.

pooltchr
02-12-2006, 07:49 AM
I believe the post was pointing out how people took advantage of the situation. The administration wasn't stealing the money, the people who the administration was trying to help were stealing money. But then, whenever anything bad happens, it must be the administration's fault, right??? You get all bent out of shape because the administration didn't do enough to try to help the victims, and then you get all bent out of shape because the some of the victims abused the program that was set up to try to help them.
It's pretty obvious that no matter what this administration does, in your mind it will be wrong.
Steve

Gayle in MD
02-12-2006, 08:03 AM
Since George Bush is the religious terrorist running this country, and appointing the agency directors whose job it is to distrubute the money, provide for oversight in that correct distribution, and provide relief for the hurricane victims, the buck stops right where it always has, on his desk in the Oval Office.

I get all bent out of shape, (ah hem, I still have a twenty two inch waist line, BTW) over incompetence, for which this administration is famous, hence, the floating bodies, empty trailors, lack of Federal Response, and the lies regarding what the president knew, and when he knew it about the breaching of the levees, a lie that came straight from the mouth of George Bush, which has been fully documented, BTW.

It's pretty obvious that no matter how dishonest and illegal and incompetent this administration is, regardless of the complete documentation, in your mind, it will be right.

Gayle in Md.

Gayle in Md.

Fran Crimi
02-12-2006, 09:22 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote pooltchr:</font><hr> I believe the post was pointing out how people took advantage of the situation. The administration wasn't stealing the money, the people who the administration was trying to help were stealing money. But then, whenever anything bad happens, it must be the administration's fault, right??? You get all bent out of shape because the administration didn't do enough to try to help the victims, and then you get all bent out of shape because the some of the victims abused the program that was set up to try to help them.
It's pretty obvious that no matter what this administration does, in your mind it will be wrong.
Steve <hr /></blockquote>

I agree, Steve. It's obvious that FEMA was feeling pressured to get money to the victims as fast as possible. Can you imagine what would have been the reaction if they had taken the time to investigate every claim? All hell would have broken loose about how they're neglecting the victims.

They're damned if they do and damned if they don't.

I'd like to know the demographics on these thieves. Who are they? What are their backgrounds? I bet that information would be EXTREMELY interesting.

Fran

DickLeonard
02-12-2006, 11:51 AM
Fran, on CSpan on Friday the head of the Home Weatherization program was talking before a Congressional panel and they asked him how many homes had been done to that point since the inception of the program.

He had no idea of how many and when he asked his aide for the info she gave him the figures for last year. No I want the figures since the program started. Now they were lost it was just a guesstimate.

Another appointee who had no concept of what his job was who had surrounded himself with more people of the same ilk.

Anyone who wanted to defend his program would have put to memory the figures in order to justify his program not appear before the committee looking like they had appointed the wrong person to run the program.####

Fran Crimi
02-12-2006, 01:53 PM
I'm sorry, I don't understand. What does that have to do with the thieves who are filing false claims?

Fran

Gayle in MD
02-17-2006, 07:15 AM
Very true, Dick, without the incompetence of the administration, there would not have been fraud. I don't understand how anyone could defend this administration's handling of Katrina. It is just another commentary to the incompetence and monetary waste for which the Bush administration is famous. They never plan ahead for how to best be prepared for disasters, whether is it a war, or a hurricane, the one thing you can count on, is that money will not end up where and how it was supposed to be spent.

Gayle in Md.

pooltchr
02-17-2006, 08:15 AM
Gayle,
As Fran pointed out, if FEMA had taken the time to check every individual claim, the Dem's would have been screaming bloody murder that they are too slow to respond, or there would probably be charges of discrimination.
No matter what this administration does, you are going to find fault with it. Nothing is the individual's responsibility. Everything that happens is bad, and it's all GW's fault. We get it, ok?????
Steve

Gayle in MD
02-17-2006, 08:40 AM
George Bush was at the top of the chain of command. He was the most power person in the chain. Two of the four others, were his appointees, and were charged with emergency operations in the case of National Disasters. As President, he also had the power to step in if those beneath him became overwhelmed with their circumstances. If you want to give him a pass for the fact that of the five people in the line of action, he had the most power, and most resources at his immediate disposal, and the most authority, and did not even bother to stay abreast of what was going on, as he has admitted, that's your business. The corruption of the funds resulted from the faulty plan for the distribution of the funds, and the plan for that distribution resulted in the incompetent decisions of how to distribute those funds, and those decisions were made by FEMA and Homeland Security, both of which are overseen by Bush appointees. Rather than fantisize how democrats might have reacted if things had gone a different way, I choose to focuss on the actual events which did occur.

If this were only one example of my tax dollars being wasted by this administration through incompetence, that would be a different matter, however, it is the overall response of incompetence, in general, and waste of taxpayers dollars, From Iraqa to New Orleans, which is so blatant under the directions and decisions and appointments of George Bush, which I find impossible to overlook.

Again, I'd like to suggest to you that since my opinions so infuriate you, that rather than respond like an angry toddler, you might consider scrolling past them, rather than expecting me to take the responsibility for the fact that they infuriate you.

You seem to think that only the Democrats may be critisized on this forum. Rather unrealistic, wouldn't you think? Bush, and the right, have not yet managed to outlaw freedom of speech, although they are working on that.

Gayle in Md.

SpiderMan
02-17-2006, 09:27 AM
Goddammit, I can't take anymore. Not only does George Bush personally throw away our money, but he deliberately sets up an "attractive nuisance" situation to entice otherwise-honest folks into committing fraud!

SpiderMan

wolfdancer
02-17-2006, 09:49 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Everything that happens is bad, and it's all GW's fault. We get it, <hr /></blockquote>

Took you long enough....now we can move on, and discuss global warming????
/ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif

pooltchr
02-17-2006, 02:07 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote wolfdancer:</font><hr> &lt;/font&gt;&lt;blockquote&gt;&lt;font class="small"&gt;Quote:&lt;/font&gt;&lt;hr /&gt;
Everything that happens is bad, and it's all GW's fault. We get it, <hr /></blockquote>

Took you long enough....now we can move on, and discuss global warming????
/ccboard/images/graemlins/confused.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif <hr /></blockquote>

Sure. That's GW's fault! End of discussion! /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif /ccboard/images/graemlins/grin.gif
Steve

DickLeonard
02-19-2006, 08:48 AM
Pooltchr It is GWB fault he suspended the Air Emissions act that was put in place by Congress to alleviate the Smoke Stacks of the Mid West. New York States lakes have been poisined by the Acid Rain, they were starting to come back and the Boob took it upon himself to throw out laws previously passed by Congress. For the life of me I can't see where he gets the power to act in this Fashion.

I am Sorry King George has the right.####

Gayle in MD
02-19-2006, 01:25 PM
He just takes the power, and breaks the law if necessary, when he takes it, and the Republican Congress majority, just goes in and blocks the investigations. Now, Bush has taken the prosecutor who had been working with Abramoff from the start, and was known as a tough prosecutor, and offerd him a judge-ship, that takes care of that.

The guy is a sneak!

Gayle in Md.

eg8r
02-20-2006, 06:01 AM
[ QUOTE ]
Pooltchr It is GWB fault he suspended the Air Emissions act that was put in place by Congress to alleviate the Smoke Stacks of the Mid West. <hr /></blockquote> What a riot. Yeah, I am sure ####, if the never suspended that act, we would not have any problems whatsoever. That was the one thing that did us in. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

eg8r