In the wake of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), government investigative agencies are on high alert and are working 24/7 to detect the criminal activities that have resulted from individuals allegedly exploiting this global pandemic.
The result of this heightened awareness has sparked an increase in criminal investigations and prosecutions for a litany of crimes related to the fallout of the coronavirus. If you have been charged with a crime or are currently being investigated, call the Criminal Lawyer Group now.
Call Us Now for a FREE and Confidential Attorney Phone Consultation at (844) 604-5190.
According to INTERPOL and the Department of Homeland Security, there has been an increase in counterfeit medical products and medicines, financial crime, fraud, and cyber crime as individuals are increasing and diversifying their activities in an effort to find new ways to make money.
Counterfeit Medical Products and Medicines
The demand for personal protection and hygiene products has skyrocketed. In an attempt to satisfy the needs of the public, individuals have begun knowingly (and unknowingly) selling substandard or counterfeit items.
Investigations are underway for criminal activity involving the sale of counterfeit coronavirus test kits and false claims involving medicines. Specifically, the Department of Justice has been targeting online sales of products claiming to protect against, or even cure, the virus.
If you have received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and/or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) notifying you that you are in violation of federal law by distributing unproven new drugs or misbranded drugs in interstate commerce, call the Criminal Lawyer Group now at (844) 604-5190.
Recent Department of Justice Investigations
#1) Industrial Bleach Marketed as “Miracle” Treatment for COVID-19
In the Southern District of Florida, a federal District Court ordered the operators of a website selling a “miracle” treatment for the coronavirus to halt the sale of an “unapproved, unproven, and potentially dangerous coronavirus (COVID-19) treatment product.”
What was the Product? The product, marketed as “MMS,” was a chemical that, when combined with an activator, created a powerful bleach product that the defendants marketed for oral ingestion.
Genesis sold the product through its websites claiming that it would “cure, mitigate, treat, or prevent coronavirus.” It also claimed to cure diseases like Alzheimer’s, autism, brain cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and more.
According to the Assistant Attorney General, Jody Hunt, “the Department of Justice will take swift action to protect consumers from illegal and potentially harmful products being offered to treat COVID-19.”
#2) Ozone Therapy as COVID-19 Treatment
In the Northern District of Texas, a federal District Court ordered a Health and Wellness Center to permanently stop the “ozone therapy” treatment it had been promoting as a treatment for COVID-19.
What was the Treatment? The “ozone treatment” was essentially an “ozone steam sauna” for someone with COVID-19.
According to the government, the Instagram account of Purity Health &Wellness claimed that the ozone therapy was the “only prevention” for COVID-19 and that it would “eradicate” the virus.
The issue with making statements like these is that, without scientific trials proving these claims, these statements may be deemed fraudulently and misleading to the public.
#3) Silver Product Fraudulently Touted as COVID-19 Cure
In Utah, a federal District Court entered an injunction against the defendant, My Doctor Suggests LLC and GP Silver LLC, preventing them from continuing to promote and sell a fraudulent treatment for the coronavirus.
What was the product? The companies sold various silver products for the cure, mitigation, treatment, and prevention of COVID-19.
The defendants claimed that having silver in the bloodstream will “usher” any coronavirus out of the body and that “it has been proven that Alkaline Structured Silver will destroy all forms of viruses, it will protect people from the Coronavirus.”
The defendants also asserted that once in the bloodstream, silver nanoparticles could block the virus from attaching to their cells, and thus “prevent the disease totally and completely.”
The defendant’s assets were frozen in order to preserve the court’s ability to grant effective final relief.
Cyber Crime and Online COVID-19 Related Fraud
Federal authorities have formed a cooperative effort of law enforcement and a number of private-sector companies – including multiple internet domain providers and registrars – to target, detect, and prosecute internet domains that are being used to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to commit fraud and other crimes.
In addition, whistleblowers have been encouraged to call the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – which receives and reviews complaints related to reports of fraudulent Internet activity related to COVID-19.
The government realizes that these domains are utilizing domain names that contain the words “COVID” and “coronavirus” in order to attract traffic. However, some domains are going as far as to claim that they are run by, or affiliated with, public health organizations or agencies.
For example, the government has touted the disruption of:
- A fraudulent website claiming to solicit donations for the American Red Cross for COVID-19 relief efforts.
- Fraudulent websites that spoof government programs and organizations to trick American citizens into entering their personally identifiable information, including banking details.
- Websites of legitimate companies and services that were used to facilitate the distribution or control of malicious software.
If you have been notified you that you being investigated or are currently in violation of federal or state law call the Criminal Lawyer Group now at (844) 604-5190.
Pricing Issues Related to COVID-19
Websites and retail stores around the globe have begun stockpiling and raising prices of items like surgical masks and other medical supplies. This often leads to price gouging investigations by both state and federal authorities.
Eventually, these federal and state agencies may execute a search warrant on your business in relation to the investigation. This may involve the seizure of your business records and inventory.
If you have had a search warrant executed on your business or are facing an investigation or criminal charges related to price gouging during coronavirus, contact an attorney from the Criminal Law Group today at (844) 604-5190.
To learn more about how price-gouging charges differ from state-to-state and how our attorneys can help you defend against federal and state charges and criminal investigations into price gouging, visit our “Price Gouging and Pricing Issues During COVID-19” page.
Federal Agencies We Defend You Against
Our attorneys are experienced in handling both state and federal matters and investigations involving:
- Local District Attorney’s Offices
- Department of Justice (DOJ)
- Office of the Inspector General (OIG)
- Health and Human Services (HHS)
- Department of Veterans Affairs (VA)
- Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI)
- Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
- Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF)
- Department of Homeland Security
- Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
- U.S. Marshals Service
- U.S. Postal Inspection Service
- Environmental Protection Agency
- Fish and Wildlife Service (Office of Law Enforcement)
- Internal Revenue Service (Criminal Investigation Division)
- The International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL)
Legal Consults During the Covid-19 Pandemic
The Criminal Lawyer Group is here to defend individuals who have been indicted, charged, accused, or are under investigation for all types of crimes related to fraud, cyber crime, sale of counterfeit goods, price gouging, and other pricing issues.
Although many places are under strict orders to social distance, limit travel, and close businesses, you may still need immediate help with criminal or civil charges during this time.
Our office is dedicated to providing you with legal consultations and representations, particularly during this difficult time. Any consultations, whether held in person or remotely, are held in the strictest of confidence.
A consultation with one of our experienced legal professionals is extremely important to assure your rights are protected and your situation is handled to the best possible outcome.
Understanding your rights and having a trusted team of professionals with experience defending Covid-19 investigations and price gouging charges should be the first step you take if you find yourself in such a position.