Questions About Fraud Answered After $1.3 Billion Handed Out For Irma Relief

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Big crowds once again lined up to get government assistance to offset expenses from Hurricane Irma.

These long lines raise the question, how is the government making sure our tax dollars are protected?

4.7 million Floridians received federal aid, a credit card like voucher, to make up for lost food due to power outages and lost wages during and after Hurricane Irma.

$1.3 billion now in the hands of those eligible.

Lots of money, and you’d think plenty of opportunity to scam.

Applicants for the relief funds were interviewed about their losses.

For most it was routine and most would up with about four hundred dollars.

But if there are any inconsistencies in their claims, they were subjected to a more intense interview.

DCF officials said they had state fraud investigators at each application site, and as of last week, they had stopped nearly $10 million in suspected fraud.

“In addition, when they leave with the card, the card is not loaded at that point, no money,” said Bronwyn Stanford. “It’s useless to that point, [it takes] 72 hours to activate it.”

During that 72 hours, the DCF and fed’s do more cross checking and if representations do not add up, the card is never activated.

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