Federal Prosecutors Poised to Act Against Criminals Targeting Economic Impact Payments
In partnership with the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, federal prosecutors are poised to take action against criminals targeting the Economic Impact Payments (EIP) that are being hand-delivered by the U.S. Postal Service, announced U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas Erin Nealy Cox.
“A wave of scammers and thieves are working overtime during the COVID-19 pandemic to defraud the American public of their Economic Impact Payments,” warned U.S. Attorney Erin Nealy Cox. “I urge the public to report any suspicious, fraudulent, or criminal activity related to the Coronavirus to law enforcement authorities.”
Amid economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was signed into law. The $2 trillion in financial relief package mandated distribution of EIPs to millions of Americans. These EIPs are being delivered in two ways: direct deposit into the recipient’s bank accounts and Treasury checks or debit cards mailed by the U.S. Treasury through the United States Postal Service.
More than 89.5 million individuals, including 7.8 million Texans, have received EIPs worth nearly $160 billion in benefits during the program’s first three weeks. The U.S. Postal Service anticipates hand-delivering over 80 million additional EIPs over the next few months.
This unprecedented mail volume gives rise to opportunist mail thieves and criminals to steal EIPs.
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges for the nation as well as unique opportunities for thieves,” warns D. Glen Henderson, Acting Inspector in Charge of the Fort Worth Division. “The criminal efforts targeting those in need are unconscionable. The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is committed to protecting the mail, and we ask the public to immediately report any suspicious activity. We also want to thank the U.S. Attorney’s Office for their continued partnership as we pursue criminals who target the mail, the U.S. Postal Service, or its customers.
The U.S. Postal Inspection Service is working diligently to rout out criminals who engage in mail theft and fraud and refer them to the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The U.S. Postal Inspectors are prepared for a variety of schemes that criminals and thieves are employing to exploit the American public during this time of crisis. If you suspect mail theft, please report it to www.uspis.gov.
To underscore federal law enforcement’s commitment to pursue those who take advantage of the Coronavirus pandemic for gain, below are several COVID-19 related prosecutions in the Northern District of Texas:
The Department of Justice remains vigilant in detecting, investigating, and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Northern District of Texas has appointed Assistant U.S. Attorney Fabio Leonardi as the District’s Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator to work with federal, state, and local law enforcement partners to protect the public from scammers who are attempting to prey upon fears. If you think you are a victim of a scam or attempted fraud involving COVID-19, contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud Hotline at 866-720-5721 or via email at email@example.com.
For more information visit: https://www.justice.gov/usao-ndtx/report-covid-19-fraud
United States Postal Service
To file a complaint regarding theft of Economic Impact Payments from the mail or COVID-19 fraud involving the U.S. Mail, please contact the U.S. Postal Inspection Service at: www.uspis.gov/report or 1-800-ASK-USPS.
Internal Revenue Service
Economic Impact Payment fraud can be reported directly to the IRS at: DallasFieldOffice@ci.irs.gov
For more information, visit the IRS website at www.irs.gov/coronavirus
For information on COVID-19 and the federal response visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus