Topic: PPE Fraud on the Rise During Coronavirus Pandemic
The coronavirus pandemic continues to have a devastating impact on individuals, businesses, and society as a whole. Numerous individuals are unable to work, businesses have been forced to close, and the death count continues to rise in America. This has resulted in an immediate and drastic need for medical supplies and goods, especially personal protective equipment (“PPE”).
With this increased demand for PPE comes an increase in federal scrutiny. The federal government and federal agencies are taking aggressive measures to combat PPE-related fraud. On April 2, 2020, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) noted that if companies are accumulating critical medical equipment with the intention of selling it and making a profit, those companies are going to be investigated and held accountable. President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order under Section 102 of the Defense Production Act that prohibits the hoarding of medical items. While individuals should be wary of COVID-19-related frauds regarding PPE, it is imperative that companies and individuals under investigation for allegedly engaging in PPE fraud get legal assistance as soon as possible.
What is PPE Fraud?
PPE fraud covers a broad range of conduct. It typically involves the selling of counterfeit or faulty testing kits, cleaning products, gloves, surgical gowns, or facial masks by making false or misleading statements about the effectiveness of the product. It could also involve making false statements to the government in order to secure PPE government contracts
With respect to the COVID-19 pandemic, the FBI warns that PPE fraud generally comes in two forms: testing schemes and treatment schemes. Testing schemes occur when the scammer contacts you either by phone, email, or sometimes in person and tells you they work for the government and that you need to take a COVID-19 test. The objective during this scheme is to obtain the individual’s health insurance information and then bill federal or private health insurance programs/plans. Treatment schemes occur when the scammer preys on public fear by selling fake cures and treatments for COVID-19. Individuals who believe this scheme will deliver either their money or financial information to the scammer.
Topic Discussed: PPE Fraud on the Rise During Coronavirus Pandemic