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FBI to probe fraud allegations in Red Cross Katrina relief efforts

[JURIST] The FBI has said that it will look into allegations of illegal activities connected to the distribution of millions of dollars worth of Red Cross [official website] supplies in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina [JURIST news archive]. The announcement [Red Cross press release] comes in the midst of a pending state investigation [JURIST report] regarding similar accusations. Investigators will look into reports of improper diversion of supplies, the hiring of felons, and other breaches of Red Cross rules. The Red Cross has already severed ties with three volunteers as a result of the allegations.

The case will be investigated by the Katrina Fraud Task Force [official website], a group of local, state, and federal law enforcement agencies headed by the Department of Justice, that will investigate past and continuing abuses in the relief effort. Jack McGuire, interim president and CEO of the Red Cross, said that $2 million in emergency funds that was obtained by fraud or improperly distributed has already been returned to the Red Cross and he urged more people to come forward with information related to the improprieties. Friday's New York Times has more.

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