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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Idaho

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Monday, March 23, 2020

U.S. Attorney Urges Public to Report Suspected COVID-19 Fraud

Assistant U.S. Attorney Appointed as Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator

BOISE – U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis of the District of Idaho 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. Additionally, the U.S. Attorney’s Office can be reached at (208) 334-1211.

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.

“While most Idahoans are finding ways to help their neighbors, unfortunately, there are others who are taking advantage during this time of uncertainty,” said U.S. Attorney Davis. “It is essential that federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement remain vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. The pandemic is difficult enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic. Such conduct cannot and will not be tolerated.”

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 serve as the legal counsel for the federal judicial district on matters relating to the Coronavirus, direct the prosecution of Coronavirus-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness activities. The District of Idaho’s Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator is Assistant U.S. Attorney Josh Hurwit.

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

To find more about Department of Justice resources and information, please visit www.justice.gov/coronavirus.

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Component(s): 
Contact: 
CASSIE FULGHUM Public Information Officer (208) 334-1211
Updated March 23, 2020