ROANOKE, Va. – In response to the increased threat of fraud presented by the coronavirus, both federal and state law enforcement leaders have formed the Virginia Coronavirus Fraud Task Force.
This task force is a joint federal and state partnership that will be led by Assistant United States Attorneys from both the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia, also part of the task force will be experienced fraud investigators from the FBI and the Virginia State Police.
The purpose of the task force is to identify, investigate, and prosecute fraud related to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic in Virginia.
“Exploiting a global pandemic for financial gain is not only morally reprehensible, it is likely criminal,” said Thomas T. Cullen, U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Virginia. “Federal prosecutors in Virginia are working closely with the FBI and the Virginia State Police to identify individuals who are engaging in coronavirus fraud, in its various forms, and preying on vulnerable populations. We are focused on the fraud, not the amount of the loss, and will utilize all available tools and statutes to put bad actors in federal prison.”
“The Virginia State Police remains committed to ensuring the Commonwealth and its citizens safely navigate these uncertain times,” said Col. Gary T. Settle, Virginia State Police Superintendent. “This task force enables state police to more efficiently and effectively collaborate with our local, state and federal law enforcement partners to best protect Virginians from predatory and, potentially criminal, practices.”
The task force will review and investigate all credible leads of fraud associated with the coronavirus pandemic, regardless of the loss amount, focusing on schemes to exploit vulnerable populations, including the elderly, and concerned citizens.
Federal prosecutors from the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia will meet and confer with their agency counterparts from the FBI and Virginia State Police on a regular basis to prioritize cases and surge resources where needed.