FEMA Fraud: File under "D" for "DUH!"

The GAO has released a report discussing FEMA's general ineptitude, and its inability to control fraud regarding assistance to Hurricane evacuees. Most of the report deals with the successful filing of multiple claims, checks going out to people using unissued and dead people's social security numbers, and all types of fun fraud for the whole family. In a particluar case, 17 people used 34 different social security numbers acquired by nefarious means to collect over $100,000 in payments (see page 5).

Where does the money go? Page 21 of the report reveals that 62.8% of the purchases were cash advances, while only 21.5% were used for food, clothing, and in department stores. And, page 22 of the report shows the most extreme examples of wasteful spending, including $1,300 for a .45 caliber pistol, $1,200 to a strip club, $1,000 for a bail bond payment, $1,000 at a casino, $450 for a tattoo (nice ink), $400 worth of massage therapy, $200 to cover a bar tab, and $150 worth of condoms. Wait a minute, I see a problem. You mean the government didn't issue the condoms up front? Certainly I must be mistaken. Isn't that some kind of right or something nowadays? Oh! The horror!

But seriously, my question is exactly who is surprised by this? And who will punish these criminals? Did we really need yet another government report to tell us how government again got it wrong? The real news would've been the government getting it right, and the good news would've been the government not getting into it at all.


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