DOJ Targets Internet Scams Involving COVID-19 Fraud

The Federal Docket

May 12, 2020

The Department of Justice issued a press release today announcing that it “has disrupted hundreds of internet domains used to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to commit fraud and other crimes.”

The presser notes that the FBI has received thousands of tips related to COVID-19 scams from websites advertising fake vaccines and treatments, fake charity drives, or that were posing as COVID-19 content in order to distribute malware. As specific examples, the presser noted a website pretending to collect donations for the Red Cross’s COVID-19 efforts and a website requesting personal identifying information in connection with government relief programs.

The efforts follow guidance issued in March directing federal law enforcement and prosecutors to identify COVID-19-related scams. That memo directed prosecutors to consider charges including wire and mail fraud, computer fraud, healthcare fraud, identity fraud, counterfeit goods trafficking, misbranded drugs violations, and price-gouging charges.

Read the DOJ’s press release here.

Read the DOJ’s memo here.

Tom Church - Tom is a trial and appellate lawyer focusing on criminal defense and civil trials. Tom is the author of "The Federal Docket" and is a contributor to Mercer Law Review's Annual Survey in the areas of federal sentencing guidelines and criminal law. Tom graduated with honors from the University of Georgia Law School where he served as a research assistant to the faculty in the areas of constitutional law and civil rights litigation. Read Tom's reviews on AVVO. Follow Tom on Linkedin.

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