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Scam targets Haitian Americans seeking to bring kin to U.S.

This gallery collects all of our photos of the crisis in Haiti, starting with the most recent images and going back to the first photos that emerged after an earthquake hit the impoverished nation Jan. 12.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

A coalition of relief organizations warned Sunday of a scam targeting Haitian Americans trying to transport relatives from the island after the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake.

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The scheme promises documents to bypass the official government process for bringing family members from Haiti to the United States, according to the Haitian Embassy and the Greater Washington Haiti Relief Committee.

C.J. Jordan, a spokesperson for the coalition, said Haitian Americans in the Washington region and throughout the country had been handed fliers or reached by phone. Those contacted are asked to wire $500 via Western Union in exchange for the documents and a confirmation number to allow them to fly to Haiti to extract five relatives, she said.

"The scheme preys on grief-stricken Haitian Americans," Jordan said. "We want to make sure that people know it's a fraud."

The organizations have alerted the FBI, and urged people with additional information about the scam to call the FBI hotline at 866-720-5721, fax 225-334-4707 or e-mail disaster@leo.gov.

-- Ann E. Marimow


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