U.S. Attorney Urges Health Care Sector to Report Fraud Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

U.S. Attorney Urges Health Care Sector to Report Fraud Related to the COVID-19 Pandemic

(STL.News) – As part of the comprehensive federal response to the COVID-19 outbreak, United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling is urging leadership at Massachusetts hospitals to report individuals and companies that may be engaged in wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In a letter to leadership at Massachusetts hospitals, U.S. Attorney Lelling encouraged health care facilities to report to federal authorities individuals and companies that may have acquired vital medical supplies in excess of what they would reasonably use, or for the purpose of charging exorbitant prices.  This includes 15 categories of health and medical supplies designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) as “scarce,” thus triggering civil and criminal enforcement remedies that the U.S. Attorney’s Office will pursue.  In addition, the U.S. Attorney’s Office will investigate any other fraudulent conduct designed to benefit from the pandemic (e.g., false treatments, tests, and/or vaccinations for COVID-19).

“In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, my office is prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of wrongdoing related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including those engaged in hoarding and/or price-gouging with regard to critical medical supplies,” said United States Attorney Lelling.  “These practices are not only morally repugnant in light of the pandemic but also, if left unchecked, will inhibit hospitals, physicians, other health care professionals, and government agencies from fully implementing measures designed to save lives and mitigate the spread of the novel coronavirus.”

U.S. Attorney Lelling named Amanda Strachan, Chief of the Health Care Fraud Unit, as the COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator for the District of Massachusetts.

Massachusetts residents who believe they are victims of fraud or other criminal activity related to the pandemic should contact the United States Attorney’s Office at USAMA.victimassistance@usdoj.gov or call 1-888-221-6023 and leave a message. Members of the public can also contact the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) by visiting www.IC3.gov.  If you or someone you know are in immediate danger, please call 911.

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