Andy's Got Your Back against disaster scams - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Andy's Got Your Back against disaster scams

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC TV) - From Hurricane Katrina to Super Storm Sandy, someone's always trying to make money off someone's misery.

Postal inspectors said scammers are still trying to rip us off using the BP oil spill.

Inspectors recently tracked, then busted 87 people who filed false claims with the government about the oil spill. They claimed the spill cost them their jobs at an unspecified seafood processing plant.

"Our investigation determined that none of these people worked in that seafood processing plant," said U.S. Postal Inspector David Dirmeyer. "They never heard of the people. It was a totally fraudulent claim."

Inspectors said the scam cost taxpayers $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 the con-artists' false claims were so obvious, inspectors easily traced the paperwork back to them, arrested them and prosecutors convicted them.

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

Report any kind of disaster fraud to the National Center for Disaster Fraud.

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