DC is full of thieves, crooks, and liars, and all of them are very clever. But I’ve never seen any of them go to quite this much trouble to get federal money.
There’s easily a thousand ways to scam the government, but most of them are smack dab in three areas – Medicaid fraud, Social Security fraud, and welfare fraud. Those programs are the easiest to lie to, and criminals can use them to fleece billions from taxpayers.
But FEMA fraud? That’s new. And that’s really hard to pull off.
But the city of New Orleans managed to do it.
The Daily Caller reports:
Federal Emergency Management Agency officials spent $2 billion fixing New Orleans’ infrastructure after Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, even though the city’s old systems were already failing and damages pre-dated the storms, a government watchdog reported.
FEMA awarded the funds to New Orleans after witnessing additional water leaks following the two storms, but the agency presented little evidence that the disasters caused the problems.
“This massive investment – representing almost $5,200 for every man, woman, and child in New Orleans – while perhaps sorely needed, is not eligible for a FEMA disaster grant because there is no evidence that the damage was caused as a direct result of the storms.”
The evidence is clear – New Orleans lied to FEMA, took money meant for storm victims, and repaired a city that had been neglected. To the tune of $2 billion.
And while that should make you angry, there’s at least one silver lining – defrauding the government by letting your surroundings crumble around you, for years, has got to be the most painful way of eventually getting money from taxpayers.
As far as cons go, this one punishes the con man long before he sees any real money.
The city, of course, disputes these claims. But the evidence of neglect is very clear. There was so much in New Orleans that needed to be replaced, it’s obvious no one was doing any serious work on it.
One-third of New Orleans’ water mains were more than 100 years old, and another third were more than 40 years old at the time of the storm. The “water system was leaking badly prior to Katrina.”
It’s like we’ve always said – fraud, waste, and abuse is a real problem.
But if you need money for city repairs, and you want to do it on the taxpayer’s dime? All you have to do is wait a really long time for a big storm.
You might be waiting a while.
Source: Daily Caller