(STL.News) – The Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force, led by U.S. Attorneys Thomas T. Cullen and G. Zachary Terwilliger, sent letters to the CEOs of all major hospital systems across the Commonwealth alerting them of potentially fraudulent and illegal activity associated with the COVID-19 pandemic.
These letters apprised hospital leadership of the potential criminal consequences of hoarding certain medical supplies identified as scarce in a March 23 Executive Order signed by President Donald J. Trump. Some of the 15 categories of health and medical supplies identified as scarce include N-91 masks, portable ventilators, Choroquine phosphate or hydroxychoroquine HCL, and a variety of other personal protective equipment, such as face masks, surgical masks, gloves, and face shields.
In addition to alerting the hospital systems about potential hoarding, the letter also asks administrators to, “identify those individuals or entities that may have acquired vital medical supplies in excess of what they would reasonably use or for the purpose of charging exorbitant prices.”
“Our regional health systems and the brave men and women they employ have a unique vantage point from which to detect potentially fraudulent and illegal hoarding activity associated with COVID-19,” said U.S. Attorney Cullen. “It is our hope that these institutions will partner with us to combat criminal conduct that undermines our collective efforts to slow the spread of this disease.”
“It is imperative that we get these critical materials to the people on the front lines,” said U.S. Attorney Terwilliger. “If you are someone who is looking to unjustly enrich yourself off of this pandemic, and amassing bulk quantities to unfairly extort hospitals and others, we will investigate and take all next steps to ensure these critical supplies get where they are needed most.”
“Governor Northam and his administration have no tolerance for any kind of fraudulent activity occurring in Virginia related to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Virginia Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “At a time when the accessibility of specific, life-critical health and medical supplies are imperative to the mitigation of COVID-19 within our communities, Virginia is appreciative of our federal partners bringing these concerns to light.”