Idaho Examiner - Sen. Larry Craig News Releases

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Craig Warns of Scam Targeting Families of those Killed in Iraq "We need to send these predators to jail," Craig says

(Washington, DC) U.S. Senator Larry Craig, Chairman of the Committee on Veterans' Affairs, has joined with the Department of Homeland Security in warning about an e-mail scam that is targeted at the families of fallen U.S. soldiers.
In the scam, the sender claims to be a volunteer working with U.S. forces and that a late friend, who also was a U.S. soldier killed in Iraq, was a very good friend of a relatives' slain son or daughter. The sender then goes on to ask for help in obtaining funds kept for them by the deceased friend, promising more details when the relative responds to the e-mail.

"This is outrageous. Anyone who commits fraud on the tender spirits and broken hearts of the families of America's heroes needs to spend a long time in a federal prison. In short, we need to send these predators to jail," said Sen. Larry Craig (R-Idaho). "And just like Monopoly, when they're caught, it should be 'do not pass go, do not collect $200 and do not get out of jail free.'"

Calling the new Internet fraud schemes "among the worst we have ever encountered," Assistant Secretary of Homeland Security Michael J. Garcia said his agency is concerned that the criminals in these schemes are impersonating Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents, which are now under the jurisdiction of Homeland Security.
To add authenticity to the e-mails, senders are adding links to ICE's actual website, the portion of which discusses Immigration and Customs operations in Iraq. "Most troubling is the fact that some are targeting the relatives of U.S. soldiers killed in Iraq," Garcia said.

People who receive such e-mails should delete them. If they have responded, they should immediately call 1-866-DHS-2ICE (1-866-347-2423). Criminals involved in such crimes could be charged with mail fraud, money laundering, wire fraud and other charges.

One month ago the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee held a hearing concerning about the problems families have faced after losing a soldier and how well the nation's current benefits system is working. Disturbed at the difficulties widows have had, Craig is now examining the need for legislation to correct the military's benefit assistance program.
"Survivors of our military heroes are precious and they need our protection. If you know a survivor, please encourage them to be on guard against this latest fraud effort," Craig said.


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