DOJ Logo

NOTE: The Cape May County Herald is offering full coverage of the COVID-19 / coronavirus emergency to all, with no payment required. We are committed to ensuring our readers can make critical decisions for themselves and their families during this ongoing situation. To continue supporting this vital reporting, please consider a digital subscription or contribution. For more coverage, subscribe to our daily newsletter.

To access the Herald’s local coronavirus/COVID-19 coverage, click here.

 

NEWARK – U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito of the District of New Jersey March 21 urged the public to report suspected fraud schemes related to COVID-19 (the novel 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.

 

According to a release, in coordination with the Department of Justice, Attorney General William Barr has directed U.S. Attorneys to prioritize the investigation and prosecution of COVID-19 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. 

 

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

 

“Unfortunately, we have already seen examples in New Jersey of unscrupulous people trying to take advantage of this global pandemic to cheat frightened citizens and the government out of money,” Carpenito stated. “Our mission to protect the public is as important now as ever, and we will investigate and prosecute these fraudsters with every resource we have.”

 

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 COVID-19s-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 COVID-19, direct the prosecution of COVID-19-related crimes, and to conduct outreach and awareness activities. The District of New Jersey Coronavirus Fraud Coordinator is Daniel Shapiro, Chief of the Economic Crimes Unit in Newark.

 

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

 

 

Introducing 'The Wrap', a new way to get the news.

We wrap up the news from the Shore you love, and deliver it to your inbox, weekly.