Defense Lawyer For Those Facing Federal Healthcare Fraud Charges Related To COVID-19 And Coronavirus
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If you are facing, or believe that you will be facing, federal healthcare fraud charges pertaining to Coronavirus and COVID-19 then you likely are facing a serious situation. With the number of deaths and active cases of COVID-19 increasing daily, state governments and the Federal government will have as zero tolerance as possible regarding those who attempt to defraud them.
Here are just some of the recent announcements from the DOJ regarding Coronavirus and COVID-19 fraud:
According to some of the announcements above, the DOJ stated:
In coordination with the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of Coronavirus fraud schemes. The NCDF Hotline can receive and enter complaints into a centralized system that can be accessed by all U.S. Attorneys, as well as Justice Department litigating and law enforcement components to identify, investigate and prosecute fraud schemes.
Some examples of these schemes include:
- Anyone selling fake testing kits, treatments, or cures for COVID-19
- Websites seeking donations for illegitimate or nonexistent COVID-19 charities
- Fraudulent phone calls from individuals posing as health insurers seeking personal information
- Phishing emails from entities posing as the CDC or WHO, which may contain malware
- Robocalls offering medical supplies with no intent to deliver
- Scams claiming to provide economic impact payments (colloquially known as stimulus funds) if consumers input their bank information
- Fraudulent medical billing for procedures related to COVID-19
- Threats to public officials advocating quarantines
- Hoarding or price-gouging of necessary supplies
- Threats to intentionally infect individuals with COVID-19
Additional statements included:
As of April 21, 2020, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) has received and reviewed more than 3,600 complaints related to COVID-19 scams, many of which operated from websites that advertised fake vaccines and cures, operated fraudulent charity drives, delivered malware, or hosted various other types of scams. To attract traffic, these websites often utilized domain names that contained words such as “covid19,” or “coronavirus.” In some cases, the fraudulent sites purported to be run by, or affiliated with, public health organizations or agencies.
For example, the cooperative effort has disrupted:
- An illicit website pretending to solicit and collect donations to the American Red Cross for COVID-19 relief efforts.
- Fraudulent websites that spoofed government programs and organizations to trick American citizens into entering personally identifiable information, including banking details.
- Websites of legitimate companies and services that were used to facilitate the distribution or control of malicious software.
Multiple federal agencies have worked to analyze the complaints, investigate ongoing fraud, phishing, or malware schemes, and assemble vetted referrals. Agencies have sent hundreds of these referrals to the private-sector companies managing or hosting the domains. Many of those companies, in turn, have taken down the domains after concluding that they violated their abuse policies and terms of service, without requiring legal process. Domain registrars and registries have advised the department that they have established teams to review their domains for COVID-19 related fraud and malicious activity. Cybersecurity researchers have also made important contributions by developing sophisticated tools to identify malicious domains and refer them for mitigation. Law enforcement is actively reviewing leads, including those referred by private firms, to verify unlawful activity and quickly pursue methods for disruption.
Here is a Tweet from the DOJ’s Twitter channel on April 20, 2020:
Criminals are attempting to exploit COVID-19 through a variety of scams. Be aware of scams selling fake cures or vaccines, posing as government sources such as the IRS, and more.
Report these scams to the US Dept of Justice by calling 866-720-5721 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org pic.twitter.com/Dk63tHkjQU
— Justice Department (@TheJusticeDept) April 20, 2020
If you believe that you are improperly being investigated or accused of healthcare fraud pertaining to Coronavirus / COVID-19, or if you wish to update your company’s healthcare compliance policies to reduce the risk of being accused of various kinds of healthcare fraud, then you are welcome to call us today or schedule a consultation through our contact form (click here).
Here are some recent videos about COVID-19 scams and fraud: