2008 Report to the Congress: Disaster Fraud Act and Related Amendments


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This Report responds to the directive in the Emergency and Disaster Assistance Fraud Penalty Enhancement Act of 2007 (the "Disaster Fraud Act"), Pub. L. No. 110–179, 121 Stat. 2556, signed by the President on January 7, 2008. The Report discusses the Disaster Fraud Act and its legislative history and explains the actions taken by the U.S. Sentencing Commission ("Commission") pursuant to the congressional directive in the Disaster Fraud Act and the Commission’s policy recommendations for combating disaster fraud offenses. (September 2008)


Key Actions

  • The Commission considered the various factors identified by Congress, including the serious nature of the disaster fraud offenses and the need for aggressive and appropriate law enforcement action to prevent such offenses as well as public comment received from a variety of stakeholders.

  • The amendment added a new two-level enhancement to the fraud guideline, in §2B1.1, if the offense involved fraud or theft involving any benefit authorized, transported, transmitted, transferred, disbursed, or paid in connection with a declaration of a major disaster or an emergency.

  • The Commission found more than 80 percent of the 54 disaster fraud cases analyzed did not receive a sentencing enhancement based on loss because the offense involved less than $5,000 of loss.