‘Makes me sick’: FEMA reports high level of wildfire fraud – Portland, Oregon

Portland, Oregon 2021-02-23 19:54:01 –

Nearly 10,000 applications are suspected of being malicious, many from outside the state.

Estacada, Oregon – September 14: On September 14, 2020, a mobile home smolder remains at the Clackamas River RV Park in Estacada, Oregon. Thousands of people remained evacuated throughout the west of Oregon, causing multiple wildfires to continue to burn. (Photo by Nathan Howard / Getty Images)

Clackamas County, Oregon (KOIN) —According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), more than 41% of Oregon’s 2020 wildfire-related aid applications are suspected of being fraudulent.

So far, FEMA has identified 9,975 of its 24,038 applications as potentially fraudulent as of Tuesday afternoon. According to FEMA, malicious applications are submitted primarily through online or mobile apps, many of which originate from outside the state.

“People weren’t even in this state, they didn’t really own a house, they weren’t here at the time of the fire, but how they call 800 or go online I know, “Dolph Deamont, Federal Coordinator of Wildfire Disasters, told KOIN6 News.

Deamont said fraud has increased over the years, the worst he’s seen in this position for over 13 years.

“It only hurt every family, a decent family who lost everything,” he said. “It slows down the process … just discourages the whole effort. It feels bad.”

FEMA has a fraudulent office that thoroughly investigates suspicious applications. Danger signals include calls from out-of-state numbers that do not have the appropriate documentation to support the claim. If convicted, people could go to jail.

Earlier this month OPB reported about 57% The percentage of people who applied for help was rejected. Malicious applications make up only part of it. Other reasons why an application may be rejected are:

  • Overlapping benefits: FEMA will not pay for damages already covered by insurance. If your insurance company rejects your claim, or if the settlement is not sufficient to meet your disaster-related needs, you will need to submit a document to FEMA.
  • The house can be safely occupied: FEMA housing assistance usually covers only the cost of making a home habitable. Damage to non-essential spaces such as landscaping and annexes will not be compensated.
  • Proof of ownership: If FEMA cannot confirm that you own a home, submit a certificate, property tax receipt, mortgage statement, or will to nominate the applicant as a real estate heir. is needed.
  • Proof of possession: You may need to provide FEMA with documents such as bank statements, telephone invoices, utility bills, pay slips, or driver’s licenses that indicate the address of your damaged home.
  • Proof of identity: You may be required to provide a copy of your social security card, US passport, military ID and other documents.

So far, about 35% of the applications have been thoroughly scrutinized and determined to be eligible, and that number could increase as the applicants submit more documents, Diemont said. Stated. The national average of fire disasters is about 31%.

Thousands of applications are still in the approval process. Emergency management authorities demand patience and perseverance.

If your claim is rejected and you don’t think it should be rejected You can sue. The state provides free legal assistance and guides you through the application, refusal, and appeal process as needed. oregondisasterlegalservices.org Or 1-800-452-7636.

“I think we’re on track, but frankly, we’ve never experienced a disaster of this magnitude and scale,” said Andrew, head of the Oregon Emergency Management Agency. Phelps says.

Phelps added that some states and nonprofits are helping to recover from wildfires.These resources are available in the state Wildfire recovery website.

Phoenix, or – September 10: In this aerial photograph from a drone, a fire-destroyed mobile home park can be seen on September 10, 2020 in Phoenix, Oregon. Hundreds of houses in the town were lost due to a wildfire. (Photo by David Ryder / Getty Images)

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