United States Attorney District of Columbia Timothy Shea and Community Prosecutors

Dear Community Partners, 03.26.20

As we face the COVID-19 global pandemic, we want to be sure that you know where the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia stands. We remain committed to ensuring public safety (including a focus on violent crime) and want you to know, as well, how you can protect yourself and others from scams that schemers and fraudsters may use to victimize individuals during this challenging time. We encourage you to report any suspected fraud to the hotline. Please see the attached press releases and feel free to share them.

Wishing you health and safety,

AUSA Wendy Pohlhaus, Director

Community Outreach Section

U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia

U.S. Department of Justice
Timothy J. Shea
United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
Judiciary Center
555 Fourth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
For Information Contact:
Public Affairs
(202) 252-6933
http://www.justice.gov/usao/dc/index.html
Statement from the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia on COVID-19 Scam Prevention Measures
WASHINGTON — As the District of Columbia and this nation face the unprecedented public health emergency posed by the pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is working with law enforcement, the court system, and community partners to ensure that essential law enforcement functions continue to operate during the crisis. My Office is committed to safeguarding our justice system and protecting the safety and security of this city and our nation.
Among the threats posed by the COVID-19 outbreak is criminal wrongdoing related to the public health crisis. In particular, we are receiving reports of scams aimed at exploiting fears and spreading disinformation about the pandemic. For example, there are reports of individuals and businesses using the internet to sell fake cures for COVID-19, market products falsely claiming to mitigate COVID-19, and fraudulently retail COVID-19 supplies, such as face masks and hand sanitizer. We are also aware of reports of phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and reports of malware being inserted onto mobile apps designed to track the spread of the virus. The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic. This sort of conduct cannot be tolerated.
The Attorney General has therefore directed every U.S. Attorney’s Office in the country to prioritize the detection, investigation, and prosecution of all criminal conduct related to the current pandemic. My Office intends to do just that. Consistent with the Attorney General’s direction, we are taking the following steps.
First, my Office is committed to pushing back against disinformation campaigns and supporting efforts to educate the public about the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. Although our in-person community outreach programs, such as community meetings and school based programs, are curtailed for now, we will work to ensure that citizens in contact with my Office receive truthful information about COVID-19. Let me start by saying this: as public health authorities have said,
there is no cure or treatment for COVID-19, there are no home test kids for the disease, and the FDA has not licensed any preventative products. Websites or retailers claiming otherwise are part of a scam. I encourage citizens to consult the website of the CDC for the latest information about COVID-19 and how citizens can prevent its spread. The CDC’s website is available at http://www.cdc.gov.
Second, as detailed in a joint press release with the District of Columbia’s Office of Attorney General, my Office is partnering with them to detect COVID-19 scams, prevent citizens from falling prey to them, and hold fraudsters accountable. Today, we are launching a COVID-19 Pandemic Fraud Hotline, 202-252-7022 and USADC.COVID19@usdoj.gov through which citizens can report suspected scams related to the pandemic. The Hotline will prompt callers to leave a message reporting suspected scams, including whatever detailed information they can provide that might aid law enforcement in identifying and stopping fraudsters. We will monitor the Hotline’s voicemail and email accounts and provide appropriate leads to law enforcement partners, such as the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspector, Metropolitan Police Department, and other local and federal authorities. District of Columbia residents can also submit complaints of suspected scams, fraud, or other consumer complaints to the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia by calling its Consumer Protection Hotline at 202-442-9828 or by emailing Consumer.Protection@dc.gov.
Third, my Office will appoint a COVID-19 Pandemic Fraud Coordinator, who will lead the investigation and federal prosecution of these frauds in the District of Columbia, and who will serve as the principal liaison with the D.C. Office of the Attorney General, local and federal law enforcement agencies, other U.S. Attorney’s Offices, and the U.S. Department of Justice. The Pandemic Fraud Coordinator will work with these partners to develop strategies to detect fraud schemes and prevent them.
The challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 threaten the safety and security of the District of Columbia and our nation. My Office will not allow those threats to be multiplied, or for citizens’ understandable anxiety to be exploited, by criminals looking to profit on a public health emergency. We are committed to detecting, investigating, and prosecuting these fraudsters and will devote whatever time, energy, and resources are necessary to do so.
20-051
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U.S. Department of Justice
Timothy J. Shea
United States Attorney for the District of Columbia
Judiciary Center
555 Fourth Street, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20530
PRESS RELEASE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, March 18, 2020
For Information Contact:
Public Affairs
(202) 252-6933
http://www.justice.gov/usao/dc/index.html
U.S. Attorney and Attorney General for the District of Columbia Announce COVID-19 Scam Prevention Measures
WASHINGTON — As the District of Columbia and this nation face the unprecedented public health emergency posed by the pandemic outbreak of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia is partnering with the District of Columbia’s Office of the Attorney General to detect COVID-19 scams, prevent citizens from falling prey to them, and hold fraudsters accountable.
U.S. Attorney Timothy J. Shea stated: “The challenges posed by the spread of COVID-19 threaten the safety and security of the District of Columbia and our nation. My Office will not allow this crisis to be exploited by criminals who look to profit during this public health emergency. We are committed to detecting, investigating, and prosecuting these fraudsters and will devote whatever time, energy, and resources are necessary to do so.”
District of Columbia Attorney General Karl A. Racine stated: “The Office of Attorney General and the U.S. Attorney’s Office have joined forces to deploy our vast criminal and civil tools to protect District residents from fraudulent, predatory, and illegal conduct by schemers and fraudsters.”
Among the threats posed by the COVID-19 outbreak are scams aimed at exploiting fears and spreading disinformation about the pandemic. For example, individuals and businesses using the internet to sell fake cures for COVID-19, market products falsely claiming to mitigate COVID-19, and fraudulently retail COVID-19 supplies, such as face masks and hand sanitizer. In addition there are reports of phishing emails from entities posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and reports of malware being inserted onto mobile apps designed to track the spread of the virus.
Today, in light of these reports, District of Columbia’s U.S. Attorney’s Office and Office of Attorney General are launching a COVID-19 Pandemic Fraud Hotline, 202-252-7022 and USADC.COVID19@usdoj.gov through which citizens can report suspected scams related to the pandemic. The Hotline will prompt callers to leave a message reporting suspected scams,
including whatever detailed information they can provide that might aid law enforcement in identifying and stopping fraudsters. The Hotline’s voicemail and email accounts will be monitored and appropriate leads will be provided to law enforcement partners, such as the FBI, U.S. Postal Inspector, Metropolitan Police Department, and other local and federal authorities.
District of Columbia residents can also submit complaints of suspected scams, fraud, or other consumer complaints to the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia by calling its Consumer Protection Hotline at 202-442-9828 or by emailing Consumer.Protection@dc.gov and can access helpful resources at http://www.oag.dc.gov/coronavirus.
20-050
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SAVE THE DATE —– The Justice League DC Thursday, February 22, 2018

You are cordially invited to join us for an informational session where you will learn the role of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the role of the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia. We are dedicated to improving public safety and the quality of life for all residents of the District of Columbia, and we need to work in partnership with our community leaders to accomplish that goal.
Old City Council Chambers / 441 4th Street, NW Washington, DC 20001 / 6:30pm to 8:30pm RSVP at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/usaooag-joint-meeting-tickets-41313408517 / Questions (202)415-5489

1D_Final_April_2016_Court_Report2

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