The U.S. Attorney’s Office in Miami established a task force on Thursday to prosecute fraudsters who target Floridians recovering from Hurricane Irma.
The group of federal prosecutors will investigate reports made by South Florida residents from the Keys up to the Lake Okeechobee area. The task force is seeking to root out fraudulent charities, people submitting false claims for disaster relief and other schemes related to recovery and cleanup.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office will work with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement as well as the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Center for Disaster Fraud, established after Hurricane Katrina. The U.S. Attorney’s Offices in the other districts of Florida and in Puerto Rico also announced the formation of disaster fraud task forces.
“Our united enforcement front will work hard to combat criminal activity, including fraud schemes associated with the hurricane’s devastation,” acting U.S. Attorney Benjamin Greenberg said in a statement. “Our mission is to ensure that federal, state and local programs, as well as reputable public and charitable assistance initiatives reach those struck by the impact of our recent natural disaster and are not fraudulently diverted to the criminals’ pockets.”
Fraud can be reported to the National Disaster Fraud Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or at email@example.com.