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Rip-Off Alert: Disaster aid highly sought by scammers

Reported by: Marie Mortera
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Updated: 1/01/2013 6:04 pm
LAS VEGAS (KSNV MyNews3) -- The 2011 BP oil spill in the Gulf was the worst in history, and the aftermath included thousands of people applying for government assistance -- some of them con artists.

U.S. Postal Inspector David Dirmeyer said it was “mind-boggling” that 87 people would falsely claim this massive spill cost them their jobs at a seafood processing plant.

"Our investigation determined that none of these people worked in that seafood processing plant, they never heard of the people,” he said. “It was a totally fraudulent claim."

The dollar loss to you, the taxpayer, footing the bill: $352,000.

"There were lots of people who deserved money who lost their jobs, lost their businesses and they were unable to get money," Dirmeyer said.

The good news is that the rip-off artists who tried to profit from this disaster were easily caught.

“Whenever you file a false claim, just the act itself of filing the claim is committing a federal offense,” said assistant U.S. Attorney Vicki Davis. “Justice is swift and it is severe, so don't do it.”

Postal inspectors got this case from the national center for disaster fraud. That agency investigates all suspected fraud in the aftermath of natural and man-made disasters such as the Gulf oil spill.
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