You are here

Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of New York

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 20, 2020

U.S. Attorney Richard P. Donoghue Urges the Public to Report Suspected Covid-19 Fraud

BROOKLYN, NY – Richard P. Donoghue, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, today urged the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the Coronavirus) by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) hotline (1-866-720-5721) or to the NCDF e-mail address disaster@leo.gov.

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.

“Any individual or company despicably seeking to enrich themselves by taking advantage of the Coronavirus emergency facing our country will face the full force of the U.S. Justice Department, and I expect they will not be happy with the outcome,” stated United States Attorney Donoghue.

Some examples of these 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.
  • Malicious 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.      

In a memorandum to U.S. Attorneys issued March 19, Deputy Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen also directed each U.S. Attorney to appoint a Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to lead each office’s efforts to investigate and prosecute Coronavirus-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness activities.  

The NCDF coordinates complaints with 16 additional federal law enforcement agencies, as well as state Attorneys General and local authorities.

Topic(s): 
Community Outreach
Consumer Protection
Contact: 
John Marzulli United States Attorney’s Office (718) 254-6323
Updated March 20, 2020