Disaster relief is invaluable. Unfortunately, it brings along with those in need, those who willfully abuse and repeatedly "scam" the system. Why not eliminate-- where we can-- applicants who commit fraud because of ease or opportunity? Initial housing assistance after a disaster is generally around $2,000.00. The fraud comes in to play in the recertification of these awards where documents are submitted with little validation. Solution: Recertification requires validation of docs by a state notary plus solemn oath that the documents are correct, unaltered, verifiable. Suggested oath below. The validation could save millions in fraudulent rent allocations over two or three years. Consider 18 months of rent at $1,000 x 2,000 (fraudulent) applications per disaster (just an example). Abuse is on the increase, and saving a few million could not be easier than this idea. This solemn oath will certainly not prevent all fraud, of course, but it could slow it down, reduce opportunity, and impede some success since many "good folk" turn bad because of opportunity. Not everyone will be able to look a notary official in the eye and swear that their fraudulent documents are true and defendable. Also, some applicants will be deterred, just because of the extra effort needed. Once a notary stamp is applied to documents, the Government has, at least a prosecuting fair chance. Also, the minor fee that a notary charges could be reimbursed during the claim. Here are some suggestions for the oath:
Notary: “Do you solemnly swear that the statements contained in this document are true to the best of your knowledge and belief?
Do you solemnly swear that documents presented are true and correct and have not been altered?
Do you solemnly swear that you are aware that any falsification in these documents will result in Federal prosecution, which could lead to fines or imprisonment?”
Affiant: I do.