State-federal task force created to investigate COVID-19 related crimes in Alabama

Alabama News

Shoppers wear face masks to protect against the coronavirus outbreak as they do their weekend shopping at a supermarket in London, Friday, April 17, 2020. The highly contagious COVID-19 coronavirus has impacted on nations around the globe, many imposing self isolation and exercising social distancing when people move from their homes.(AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WIAT) — Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced Wednesday the creation of a state-federal task force to investigate financial crimes related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

These crimes include stimulus payment fraud, price gouging and hoarding personal protective equipment designated as scarce.

The task force, which is made up of more than a dozen state and federal agencies, will be a subcommittee of the Economic Crime Alliance of Alabama (ECAA), and will investigate a broad range of crimes arising from the coronavirus pandemic which will then be referred to prosecutors from the Attorney General’s Office, local district attorneys and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for prosecution.

Among the crimes to be investigated are stimulus payment fraud, personal protective equipment fraud, COVID-19 testing and treatment fraud, fake charities related to coronavirus, price gouging, hoarding of personal protective equipment designated as scarce, fraud targeting the elderly, and other fraudulent and criminal behavior associated with the current pandemic.

“As our nation and state grapple with the societal disruption of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, criminal elements have preyed upon widespread fear and uncertainty to victimize the public,” Attorney General Marshall said. “Due to the broad nature of the financial crimes being perpetrated against the public, a dedicated team of state and federal partners has been assembled to channel resources and expertise to identify criminals and bring them to justice.”

The new task force of the Economic Crime Alliance of Alabama includes the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Labor, the Alabama Securities Commission, the Alabama State Banking Department, the Alabama Department of Revenue, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

“The combined reach of these state and federal agencies will be leveraged to pinpoint and investigate criminal activity which will then be prosecuted by state and federal prosecutors of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, local district attorneys, as well as the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama,” Attorney General Marshall added.  “Those who seek to use the COVID-19 pandemic to steal from the vulnerable and the sick should have no refuge. Our law enforcement alliance is actively working to end their campaign of fraud and deception.”

Complaints of illegal activity regarding COVID-19 can be directed to the Alabama Attorney General’s Office via the following email: ReportCovid19Crime@AlabamaAg.Gov.


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