FEMA Must Take Additional Steps to Demonstrate the Importance of Fraud Prevention and Awareness in FEMA Disaster Assistance Programs
FEMA has instituted several effective mechanisms to demonstrate the importance of fraud prevention in its disaster assistance programs, but it needs to do more. In line with our 2011 audit report recommendations, FEMA now uses standard system queries and additional business rules to flag potentially fraudulent disaster assistance applications. However, FEMA must take additional, proactive steps to create and sustain a culture of fraud prevention and awareness. This includes adequately staffing the Fraud and Internal Investigations Division, implementing an effective process to monitor and discourage staff noncompliance with required fraud training requirements, and establishing a clear and consistent process for reporting suspected fraud. We made five recommendations for FEMA to demonstrate its commitment to fraud prevention in carrying out its disaster assistance programs. FEMA concurred with all of our recommendations and has begun implementing corrective actions.