Red Cross Refers New Orleans Investigation to Federal Bureau of Investigation
WASHINGTON, Thursday, March 30, 2006 — The FBI in New Orleans has just agreed to take the referral of allegations of fraud and other wrongdoing in connection with an American Red Cross investigation into food distribution and warehousing activities in the New Orleans area. This is an ongoing investigation and the American Red Cross and the FBI will not be able to comment further on the matters of this case. The Red Cross Office of General Counsel and Office of Investigation Compliance and Ethics will continue to work closely with the FBI on this matter.
“The Red Cross takes these allegations very seriously and is committed to being the best stewards of the donated dollar,” said Red Cross president and CEO, Jack McGuire. "We actively seek out and prosecute wrongdoing to the fullest extent of the law. We are grateful to the volunteers who have brought these matters to our attention and encourage others who may have information to let us know.”
The Red Cross has been part of the Department of Justice Hurricane Katrina Fraud Task Force since Hurricane Katrina first made landfall. As part of the taskforce, the Red Cross works closely with the Secret Service, the FBI, the U.S. Postal Service, the Secret Service and other law enforcement groups to seek out and prosecute fraud, waste and abuse to the fullest extend law, and seeks court ordered restitution for repayment of fraudulently obtained money.
Through the Investigations, Compliance and Ethics Office, the Red Cross has the systems and processes in place to aggressively investigate every allegation of fraud, waste , abuse and other wrongdoing. If criminal misconduct is suspected, the matter is turned over to law enforcement authorities. To date about $2 million dollars of Hurricane Katrina emergency financial assistance obtained fraudulently or mistakenly has been returned to the Red Cross.
For more than three years the Red Cross has maintained a toll-free, confidential and anonymous, whistleblower hotline called the Concern Connection Line (888-309-9679) to collect allegations of fraud, waste, abuse and other wrongdoing.
The American Red Cross is where people mobilize to help their neighbors—across the street, across the country and across the world—in emergencies. Each year, in communities large and small, victims of some 70,000 disasters turn to neighbors familiar and new—the nearly 1 million volunteers and 35,000 employees of the Red Cross. Through more than 800 locally supported chapters, more than 15 million people gain the skills they need to prepare for and respond to emergencies in their homes, communities and world. Some 4 million people give blood—the gift of life—through the Red Cross, making it the largest supplier of blood and blood products in the United States. The Red Cross helps thousands of U.S. service members separated from their families by military duty stay connected. As part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, a global network of more than 180 national societies, the Red Cross helps restore hope and dignity to the world’s most vulnerable people. An average of 91 cents of every dollar the Red Cross spends is invested in humanitarian services and programs. The Red Cross is not a government agency; it relies on donations of time, money, and blood to do its work.
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