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CBS: FEMA Official Sees Fraud in Hurricane Sandy Payouts

By    |   Friday, 27 Feb 2015 08:43 PM

The official heading the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s insurance program for Hurricane Sandy victims charges he's seen evidence of fraud in reports used to deny homeowners full payouts.

Brad Kieserman, FEMA deputy associate administrator for insurance, also alleges he's seen evidence that unlicensed engineers were used for flood damage reports.

And, Kieserman alleges, according to portions of his interview with "60 Minutes" released Friday by CBS News, FEMA has been aware of the alleged criminality for more than a year.

“I'm not going to sit here and conceal the fact that it happened. Because in the last three weeks, I've seen evidence of it,” Kieserman says, referring to engineering reports that initially blamed flood water for severe structural home damage, then were changed to say there was no structural damage.

The changed reports were used to justify a stingier payout – and have prompted hundreds of Hurricane Sandy victims to sue insurance companies and engineering firms in the FEMA-backed flood program, CBS News reports.

Kieserman also tells "60 Minutes" he's seen evidence unlicensed engineers had been used, "Which is why I referred it to the Inspector General.”

And he asserts there were "signals" of problems a year after the devastating 2012 storm that FEMA could have acted on.

“This upset me very much… had [the signals] been elevated in the agency — [they] would have been very helpful in helping us help people earlier,” he says.

Yet, he concedes to "60 Minutes," "[T]he program was never designed to make everyone whole."

The full interview will be broadcast Sunday.

According to The New York Times, allegations of altered reports prompted a federal judge overseeing more than 1,000 hurricane related lawsuits in the New York City area to order all drafts of the engineering reports be turned over, saying he believed such revisions could be "widespread." Lawyers for homeowners in the suits began reviewing the documents, and say they have already identified more than 500 doctored reports.

Attorney Genera Eric Schneiderman of New York has begun a criminal inquiry, and FEMA is conducting its own inquiry, The Times reports.

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The official heading the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s insurance program for Hurricane Sandy victims charges he's seen evidence of fraud in reports used to deny homeowners full payouts.
hurricane, sandy, insurance, fraud, tv, media, fema
346
2015-43-27
Friday, 27 Feb 2015 08:43 PM
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