WASHINGTON (WJZ) — U.S. Attorney General Merrick B. Garland announced the establishment of the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to tackle COVID-19 related fraud schemes.

“The Department of Justice will use every available federal tool including criminal, civil, and administrative action to combat and prevent COVID-19 related fraud,” said Attorney General Garland. “We look forward to working with our federal government colleagues to bring to justice those who seek to profit unlawfully from the pandemic.”

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The federal government responded to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic with relief to workers and businesses affected by the pandemic. There has been heightened surveillance to help ensure that funds are distributed to Americans dependent on them. Though impossible to monitor those carrying out illegal COVID fraud schemes, the DOJ along with its partner agencies are working to hold hundreds accountable.

The task force will incorporate the existing methods within the department. They will work closely with the Department’s agency partners to share information gained from prior experience.

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To help reduce the potential threat to Americans and COVID-19 relief, agencies have been tasked with administering these significant relief programs to increase their fraud prevention efforts by providing any appropriate information law enforcement learns about fraud trends and illegal activities.

Additionally, the task force will support efforts to investigate and prosecute domestic and international criminals, prevent the exploitation of government assistance for personal and financial gain and recover stolen funds.

 

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CBS Baltimore Staff