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House Panel Looks At Double Dipping After 9/11 In FEMA Fraud Hearing

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TWC News: House Panel Looks At Double Dipping After 9/11 In FEMA Fraud Hearing
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A House of Representatives subcommittee continues its probe into alleged large-scale fraud involving federal September 11th funds.

Thursday's hearings focused on loans meant to help small businesses directly impacted by the terror attacks.

Lawmakers blasted officials from the Small Business Administration for failing to monitor the way it doled out funds. Committee members pointed to a $635,000 loan that went to a frozen custard business in Texas.

Another lawmaker called the program “a potential for disaster.”

Still others criticized the Manhattan District Attorney's office for not prosecuting more New Yorkers who may have accepted money they weren't supposed to have.

The number two official in charge of FEMA in New York, Joseph Picciano, said Wednesday the agency did all it could to prevent fraud.

Meanwhile, the federal government is testing a new system that would deliver emergency alerts to cell phones and computers.

The Department of Homeland Security is updating its emergency alert system to include all wireless devices. The alerts would come in the form of text messages, audio recordings, video and graphics.

The system, which will be run by FEMA, will also transmit warnings on cable television channels and satellite radio.

People not interested in receiving the alerts can opt out.

The new system should be ready by the end of 2007.

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