State Auditor Phil Bryant will locate his hurricane fraud unit in offices in Hattiesburg and Biloxi. Bryant made the announcement during a news conference Friday in Biloxi.
Bryant and Gov. Haley Barbour had said in April that the auditor had set up a unit that will target fraud cases related to housing grants. No location was announced at that time.
Bryant said investigators will look into complaints about fraudulent applications and shoddy work by contractors in Hancock, Harrison, Jackson and Pearl River counties.
"From the point where these tax dollars enter the system until they are paid to the builder, we will be there to assure protection for the citizens,'' Bryant said Friday.
Bryant plans to hire 10 law enforcement officers for the unit. About five to six of them will work out of the Hattiesburg branch office and the rest will work out of a Biloxi office.
A $1.9 million federal grant from the U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development agency will fund the fraud unit for the next two years. Another $3 million could fund the unit for an additional three years.
To learn more about the Hurricane fraud unit, or to file a complaint, click here, or call 1-800-956-1846.