A welcome sign stands outside of the Holcomb Gate on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C.

A welcome sign stands outside of the Holcomb Gate on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, N.C. (U.S. Marine Corps)

The Navy and Justice Department warned this week of attempts to steal personal information or money from individuals filing claims or lawsuits over toxic water at the Marine Corps’ Camp Lejeune, N.C.

Navy and Justice Department officials on Monday warned of an uptick in reports of “unscrupulous people and companies” soliciting those seeking government compensation for illness or deaths linked to contaminated drinking water at the Marine Corps base. Most of the recent scams reported have been via telephone or email solicitation, according to the departments.

As of December, nearly 150,000 people had filed claims under the 2022 Camp Lejeune Justice Act seeking compensation for illnesses or wrongful deaths associated with the toxic drinking water at Camp Lejeune between August 1953 and December 1987, Navy officials said.

The Navy and Justice Department urged all individuals contacted by suspected scammers to contact their lawyers representing them in their cases or the Navy’s Camp Lejeune Claims Unit, or CLCU, if they have not hired an attorney. The CLCU can be contacted by phone at 757-241-6020 or by email at

The Navy added the following information about potential fraud in Camp Lejeune cases:

• The Justice Department and the Navy will never request money or payment from those filing Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims.

• Those represented by attorneys in Camp Lejeune Justice Act claims should direct all inquiries to those attorneys for verification.

• Authorized emails from the Navy will be sent only from Individuals filing claims can forward any email messages received to that address to verify authenticity.

• Claimants receiving a phone call claiming to be from the CLCU or offering assistance with claims, should ask for the person’s name and position, then call the CLCU at 757-241-6020 to verify.

• Those represented by an attorney will never be contacted by the Justice Department or Navy directly. All correspondence will be directed through claimants’ attorneys.

The federal government has estimated more than 1 million service members and civilians were likely exposed to the base’s water, which was found to be contaminated primarily by dry-cleaning chemicals that leaked into wells from an off-post business. Those chemicals have been linked to neurological disorders, including Parkinson’s disease, cancers, reproductive issues and other health defects.

Victims have until Aug. 10, 2024, to submit a claim.

It remains unclear how much money the federal government will pay out to victims of toxic water at Camp Lejeune. Trials are expected to begin this year.

The Navy announced last year that the government would offer some victims a preset settlement option, which would pay between $100,000 to $550,000 to those who have developed certain diseases and spent at least 30 days at Camp Lejeune between Aug. 1, 1953, and Dec. 21, 1987.

Known as the elective option, those settlements are meant to provide some claimants a “quick and early resolution” to their cases, the Justice Department said in September.

However, few claimants are expected to qualify for the elective option, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis published this month. The news organization said more than 85% of claimants would not qualify for those payments, citing preliminary data gathered about the case.

The Monday fraud warning comes just months after the Justice Department decided in November to cap attorney fees in Camp Lejeune cases at 20% for administrative claims and 25% for suits filed in federal court. That decision came in response to some claims that lawyers were seeking unusually large fees for Camp Lejeune cases.

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Corey Dickstein covers the military in the U.S. southeast. He joined the Stars and Stripes staff in 2015 and covered the Pentagon for more than five years. He previously covered the military for the Savannah Morning News in Georgia. Dickstein holds a journalism degree from Georgia College & State University and has been recognized with several national and regional awards for his reporting and photography. He is based in Atlanta.

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