We defend covid-19 fraud investigations and can work with leading scientists regarding:
Federal prosecutors are ramping up their investigations against fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) All U.S. Attorneys and all federal government investigators are prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus-related fraud schemes. Each U.S. Attorney has a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to serve as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on fraud relating to the Coronavirus, directing the prosecution of Coronavirus-related crimes. What is the defense, however? In reality the President of the United States (POTUS) Donald J. Trump has been espousing the demonstrated viability of unproven scientific treatments at all of his press conferences, in essence allowing/encouraging individuals outside of the government to research find and sell a cure on their own. It therefore is unfair to selectively investigate and then prosecute persons being encouraged by Donald J. Trump who himself has admitted to being a fraudster in his own on-line deals (i.e. Trump University $25m settlement).
Some examples of defense of supposed fraud schemes include:
- Individuals and businesses selling fake cures for COVID-19 online and engaging in other forms of fraud.
- Phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Websites and apps that appear to share Coronavirus-related information to gain and lock access to your devices until payment is received.
- Seeking donations fraudulently for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations.
- Medical providers obtaining patient information for COVID-19 testing and then using that information to fraudulently bill for other tests and procedures.
COVID-19 Fraud Laws & Charges
As of this writing, there are 1,838 coronavirus cases in Massachusetts, and 15 have died. (Boston25news.com). As the number of deaths continues to climb, federal government officials have made it clear that efforts to defraud citizens of the state during a global pandemic will not be tolerated.
There is a zero-tolerance policy for federal crimes related to the coronavirus, which are becoming more coming, according to FBI statistics. The agency stated last week that it has seen an increase in fraud schemes related to COVID-19, including fake CDC emails, phishing emails, counterfeit treatments and equipment, and more. (IC3.gov).
US government officials have said they are zeroing in on COVID-19 scams and will prioritize prosecuting scammers who are trying to take advantage of people during this crisis. A memorandum was sent to all US attorneys this week, stating that every US Attorney’s Office is directed to be on the lookout for criminal activity related to the COVID-19 virus.
Department of Justice Issues COVID-19 Fraud Alert
The Department of Justice stated in its alert that it is working hard to detect, investigate, and prosecute any wrongdoing related to the China virus crisis. It stated that there had been hundreds of reports of criminal activity related to COVID-19, such as: (Justice.gov)
- People selling phony cures for COVID-19 online.
- Phishing emails from organizations pretending to be the WHO or CDC.
- Malicious websites and apps that share fake virus-related information to gain access to your device until you make payment.
- Seeking donations for non-existent charitable organizations.
Those who are behind these types of fraudulent activities and communications could face federal charges of wire fraud, mail fraud, conspiracy, telemarketing fraud, or Internet fraud. Also, people who are trying to scam the elderly during the virus crisis could face Medicare fraud charges.
Being convicted on any of these federal fraud charges can get you 10, 20, or more years in prison. That is why it is vital that you hire a coronavirus federal defense attorney after you have been arrested. Even if you think you are only under federal investigation, you still should retain a coronavirus defense attorney immediately.
Federal COVID-19 Litigation Already Happening
The first federal litigation regarding COVID-19 has already happened. It involves an alleged wire fraud scheme to make money off of the fear and uncertainty surrounding the virus. (Justice.gov).
The federal action was taken against the operators of a phony website in Austin, Texas that engaged in a scheme that offered consumers ‘access to WHO vaccine kits’ in exchange for a shipping charge of $4.95. People would enter their credit card information into the site.
Federal authorities stress there is no COVID-19 vaccine available yet and the WHO is not distributing any vaccines at this time.
Insider Trading Allegations Hounding 4 US Senators
There have been other alleged wrongdoing during the coronavirus panic. Four United States senators have received harsh criticism for allegedly engaging in insider trading because they may have used inside knowledge about the virus to sell millions of dollars in stock before the crisis began. This type of activity is known as insider trading or security fraud.
Senators Dianne Feinstein (CA), Richard Burr (NC), Kelly Loeffler (GA) and Jim Inhofe (OK) all are facing scrutiny for their actions with their personal portfolios, but no federal charges have been filed. However, it is a clear example of how federal charges can be filed against anyone as the country continues to navigate choppy waters during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Computer and White Collar Federal Crimes
As many more people are working from home during the pandemic, there is a greater risk that sensitive company information could be stolen. Theft of data is not a federal crime, but using such information for blackmail or extortion purposes could land you in federal prison for years.
Because the virus is sometimes called the Chinese flu or Asian flu, some Asian-Americans across the US have reported more incidents of hate crimes.
These crimes are becoming so common that in New York, Governor Cuomo announced a hotline last week to report alleged hate crimes against Asian-Americans. (AG.NY.gov). Hate crimes are tried at the federal level in Massachusetts and anywhere in the US.
What Will Be the Effects of Skyrocketing Unemployment?
The most recent unemployment benefit application numbers came out this week, and they are ugly. A record 3.3 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the last two weeks. (Washingtonpost.com). During the Great Recession, the worst week for unemployment claims was only 665,000.
During such a crisis, some people panic as they run out of money. Otherwise law-abiding citizens may engage in criminal activity whether they know it or not. If you have been charged with a federal crime during this difficult economic time, talk to a coronavirus defense attorney to ensure your rights are safeguarded.
Ignorance Is Not a Defense
Ignorance of the law is not a defense at the state or federal level. Many people hit with federal charges are confused by the legal lingo and may not understand how grave the charges are. You have many legal options, but the right choices need to be made quickly, which is why it is critical to retain an experienced federal defense lawyer with years of experience in federal and state court.