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Beware of Camp Lejeune Justice Act Fraud

Historic legislation meant to bring justice to thousands of injured, ill, or deceased U.S. service members and their families has taken a dark turn. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and Navy issued a warning earlier this year to individuals filing Camp Lejeune claims over contaminated water at the North Carolina base that they are at risk from scam artists.

About Camp Lejeune Lawsuits

Approximately one million people who lived and worked at Camp Lejeune for at least 30 days between August 1953 and December 1987 were exposed to contaminated water and developed a variety of illnesses and diseases, some of which lasted the rest of their lives or led to early death. These include bladder, kidney, and liver cancers, leukemia, Parkinson’s disease, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, aplastic anemia, multiple myeloma, reproductive problems, and more. 

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Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) were discovered in Camp Lejeune’s water supply in the early 1980s, but that information was kept from the public for nearly two decades. Men, women, and children suffered and died while the government feigned ignorance.

Normally, U.S. military veterans are legally prohibited from suing the government for injuries or illnesses sustained while on active duty. Camp Lejeune toxic water victims could only file for disability benefits until President Biden passed the Camp Lejeune Justice Act (CLJA) in 2022.

Now, those who suffered injuries from Camp Lejeune’s toxic water can file a Camp Lejeune claim for compensation. If Camp Lejeune administrative claims aren’t resolved within six months, these servicemembers and their families can file Camp Lejeune lawsuits to sue the government for a variety of possible damages such as medical expenses, lost wage, and future earnings, pain and suffering, wrongful death and loss of society and companionship. 

To expedite the vast amount of expected claims, the Navy created a Camp Lejeune Elective Option last year, offering qualified victims a guaranteed settlement between $100,000-550,000. Those who opted in for the Elective Option settlement are supposed to receive that money years before claimants who choose to move forward with lawsuits, but they must relinquish their rights to sue in exchange. Claimants willing to wait through the litigation process could stand to receive significantly higher compensation.

As of January, more than 150,000 people have filed administrative claims under the CLJA; $2.2 million worth of payments have been issued. Approximately 1,500 federal lawsuits are pending, and trials are expected to begin in April. The Camp Lejeune administrative claims alone could cost the government trillions of dollars.

Adding to the government’s woes, a new Camp Lejeune study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that military personnel at Camp Lejeune between 1975-1985 had a 20 percent higher risk for cancers of the lung, breast, esophagus, throat and thyroid, along with lymphoma and some types of leukemia. This information is expected to prompt even more Camp Lejeune claims.

Camp Lejeune Scams

Unfortunately, the staggering amount of money at stake in Camp Lejeune lawsuits has attracted a nationwide network of dishonest people, including attorneys, who try to manipulate Camp Lejeune victims into giving out personal information and money. 

Between August 2022-2023, more than $130 million was spent on Camp Lejeune advertising by almost 200 different businesses, according to mass tort research firm X Ante.

More than 20 law firms were sued last year on allegations of violating the U.S. Telephone Consumer Protection Act, a federal telemarketing law, for attempting to dishonestly recruit Camp Lejeune plaintiffs. Tactics included illegal measures such as robocalling or texting people who did not consent to be contacted.

When the DOJ learned that law firms were seeking unusually high fees for Camp Lejeune cases, it responded by capping their fees at 20% for administrative claims and 25% for federal lawsuits.

Reports of “unscrupulous people and companies” have quickly increased over the last few months, said the DOJ, with most scams coming in the form of email or telephone solicitation. These scammers will promise a guaranteed settlement in exchange for a fee, but the DOJ and the Navy will never charge you for filing a claim. 

The DOJ and Navy’s warning to Camp Lejeune claimants included the following information to spot scam artists: 

  • If you don’t have an attorney, do not immediately trust anyone who calls claiming to be from the DOJ/Navy. Note their name and position, then call the Camp Lejeune Claims Unit at (757) 241-6020 to verify.
  • Trust emails only from, the Navy’s authorized email address. 
  • If you have an attorney, the DOJ/Navy will communicate with you only through them – never directly.
  • Most importantly, the DOJ/Navy will never request money or payment from those filing CLJA claims.

The deadline to file Camp Lejeune claims with the U.S. District Court of Eastern North Carolina is August 10, 2024. As the Camp Lejeune claims deadline approaches, scams are likely to increase. While a lawyer is not required to file a Camp Lejeune claim, a reputable attorney can help you avoid being scammed out of your money and personal information. They can also guide you through the complex process of filing a lawsuit if your claim is unresolved or denied, assisting you with medical records, proof of enlistment, and other important documentation. A legitimate Camp Lejeune attorney will offer free consultations to discuss your case and only get paid if you do.