Fraud and Corruption in Times of Disaster
An examination of the response to major natural and man-made catastrophic events in the past reveals numerous examples of heroic deeds during and after the disaster, as well as many example of peoples from all walks of life providing assistance to the victims of the catastrophic events. However, one sees many examples of an opposite reaction, that is, either one of not being concerned and thus not becoming involved in any way or worse, using the event to enhance their self-interests. Those who have the power to make decisions relating to the disaster generally will have an opportunity to engage in corruption, fraud, and theft. For example, the “black market” and corruption have always flourished during wartime, during times when a country is in the midst of an economic depression and during the periods when a country’ s government has made a dramatic change. Corruption and fraud often become a major problem after a community experiences a hurricane, flood, tornado, or man-made disaster such as a terrorist attack or oil spill.
In this chapter, the predominant perpetrators of crimes such as fraud, theft, and corruption are examined, as well as the factors that enable the perpetrators to commit their crimes during and after catastrophic events. In addition, the strategies used by the government and private agencies to combat fraud and corruption during these disruptions to the normal routine of the community are considered. Major catastrophic events, both man-made and natural, that occurred in the United States are used to illustrate how both public and private agencies, as well as individuals, engage in corruption and fraud during these happenings.
KeywordsNatural disasters Fraud Corruption Organized crime “Black market,” Homeland Security Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Multi-State Information Sharing and Analysis Center Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act
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