Tags: Exclusive Interviews | MidPoint | federal | flood | insurance | program | flood

Ex-FEMA Chief: Feds' Flood Insurance Program Rife With Fraud

By    |   Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 08:37 PM

Long before "60 Minutes" caught insurers cheating homeowners out of payments for Hurricane Sandy, the government-backed flood insurance program at the center of the emerging scandal was rife with fraud, and should be dumped, says a former chief of the agency that oversees U.S. flood insurance.

"It's the kind of program that personified exactly what a federal agency should not be doing," Michael Brown, former head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), told "MidPoint" host Ed Berliner on Newsmax TV Tuesday.

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Brown, a Denver talk radio host, was joined on "MidPoint" by Boston-based criminal defense lawyer Geoffrey G. Nathan. Both agreed that it's time to fire any FEMA bureaucrats who allowed government-backed insurers to get away with fleecing homeowners.

A "60 Minutes" exposé on Sunday found that insurers pocketed federal money set aside for Sandy victims by colluding with engineering firms to create fraudulent reports that lowballed property damage, allowing the insurers to short homeowners on payouts.

Veteran lawyer Nathan marveled at the scale of the boondoggle.

"This is a multibillion dollar, massive fraud, one of the biggest that I believe the federal government will have seen in quite some period of time," he said.

Nathan also said that a class-action civil lawsuit by homeowners against the insurers will be placed on a fast track by the courts, and that criminal investigations are likely.

"So in the end, there'll be some recourse," he said, "and there's going to be a lot of heads that are going to roll down at FEMA, and they may be rolling all the way to Attica State Prison, for all I know."

Brown, who ran FEMA during Hurricane Katrina, said the Hurricane Sandy flood-insurance debacle illustrates "why this should not be a taxpayer-funded program."

The funds needed to make cheated homeowners whole again will "come from you and I," he added. "Congress will appropriate the money; we'll end up paying for it."

Brown also discussed Tuesday's controversial address to Congress by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who warned against trusting in the nuclear negotiations with Iran that are such a high priority for the Obama administration.

"Fantastic," Brown said of the speech, which the White House, State Department and many congressional Democrats boycotted.

Brown called Netanyahu "a real statesman" and "someone who stood up and drew a line between a country of freedom and liberty and a country of tyranny and darkness.

"I wish we had a statesman like that in this country," he said.

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Long before "60 Minutes" caught insurers cheating homeowners out of payments for Hurricane Sandy, the government-backed flood insurance program at the center of the emerging scandal was rife with fraud, and should be...
federal, flood, insurance, program, flood, fema, michael brown
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2015-37-03
Tuesday, 03 Mar 2015 08:37 PM
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