Targeting COVID-19 Fraud in Pennsylvania

Hacking and criminal concept.A hacker in a secret hiding place is neon light.

There’s no emergency sufficiently dire nor human tragedy great enough to deter scammers from trying to cash in on them. That’s evident in the growing variety of COVID-19 fraud schemes being concocted and promulgated across the country as government and citizens battle the spread of coronavirus. The U.S. Attorney General has asked U.S. Attorneys nationwide to double down on detecting and prosecuting fraud that seeks to “profit from public panic.” In response, U.S. Attorney Scott W. Brady appointed a western Pennsylvania COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator to investigate potential fraud schemes.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Shaun Sweeny, a Senior Litigation Counsel, will fill this role. In appointing him, Brady called out scams such as email phishing schemes featuring counterfeit virus test kits and fraudulent donation requests for phony or nonexistent charities. He added, “All fraudsters should know that if you cross a state line, use your phone or the internet, DOJ can and will prosecute your crime.”

Sweeny will prioritize the investigation and prosecution of COVID-19 related fraud to protect citizens of western Pennsylvania. Residents who are aware of a potential virus-related fraud scheme should visit to provide detailed information.

Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from a news release from the United States Attorney’s Office, Western District of Pennsylvania, “U.S. Attorney Brady Appoints Experienced Prosecutor to Fight COVID-19 Fraud,” published Mar. 17, 2020.

PITTSBURGH – United States Attorney Scott W. Brady today announced the appointment of a COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator to lead investigations into potential fraud schemes perpetrated as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

Attorney General William Barr has asked U.S. Attorneys nationwide to remain vigilant in detecting, investigating and prosecuting wrongdoing related to the crisis. “The pandemic is dangerous enough without wrongdoers seeking to profit from public panic and this sort of conduct cannot be tolerated,” Attorney General Barr said.

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Larry Benson is currently the Director of Strategic Alliances for Revenue Discovery and Recovery at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. In this role, Benson is responsible for developing partnerships for the tax and revenue and child support enforcement verticals. He focuses on embedded companies that have a need for third-party analytics to enhance their current offerings.