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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Northern District of Indiana

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 19, 2020

Statement From U.S. Attorney Thomas L. Kirsch II

Regarding Covid-19 And Criminal Activity

HAMMOND- “We are in the midst of a national emergency.  The good citizens of Indiana are concerned.  They are concerned about their health, their families and friends, their children’s schools, their jobs, and the economy, among other things.  One thing that should not be a concern for our citizens is being a victim of crime, by either fraud or by force.  Unfortunately, criminals will attempt to take advantage of this situation in multiple ways.  New scams will emerge, particularly those that target the elderly, the sick, and the economically disadvantaged.  Ongoing scams will continue, as will violent and property crime. 

“During this time, my office will remain open and vigilant.  Our mission has not changed.  The good women and men of the U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to serve the community in a steady, professional manner.  

“Criminals, including fraudsters, will not find a safe harbor.  My office will work closely with our state and local counterparts and with federal, state, and local law enforcement to aggressively pursue and punish criminal wrong doers, especially those who prey upon the most vulnerable during this time.  If you considering ways in which to criminally take advantage of our vulnerabilities, I strongly urge you to consider the severe consequences you will face when you are caught.

“To quickly respond to emerging fraud schemes, I have appointed Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell, who heads the office’s Criminal Division, to coordinate the investigation and prosecution of COVID-19 schemes.

“I strongly encourage anyone with information about fraud schemes to call the Indiana FBI at 317 595-4000 or Assistant United States Attorney Gary Bell of my office at 219 937-5656.”

Updated March 19, 2020