FEMA, the federal agency intended to help those in need during to natural disasters, are now facing instances of fraud.
Stacks upon stacks and boxes on boxes of paperwork are now being analyzed due to altered documents pertaining to Hurricane Sandy insurance claims. During an investigation, it was discovered that companies connected to FEMA’s National Flood Insurence Program were responsible for lowballing thousands of victims out of millions of dollars.
The investigation found the reports filed by engineers were altered so that the insurance companies were not liable for structural damage, the most costly of hurricane repairs. Instead, the reports told stories of preexisting damage not caused by Sandy when in fact they were all Hurricane based. This left people with only a mere fraction of their damage costs to rebuild their lives and homes, despite paying for their insurance.
From there, affidavits were forced on those who filled the paperwork, asking them to agree with the modified documents. There have even been claims of unlicensed inspectors reporting on hurricane-ravaged homes.
There are three main companies who oversaw claims of Hurricane Sandy related damage: HiRise Engineering, Wright Flood, and U.S. Forensic. They are all also now being investigated for fraud. These companies also happen to be overseen by FEMA, who has also stated that they have been aware of the fraud for over a year now. Due to the investigation, about 150,000 claims are being reopened to determine if fraud was involved.