The United States Attorney’s Office, Central District of California continues to fulfill its mission of protecting public safety during the coronavirus health emergency.
“Our primary goal is to maintain safety and security across the seven counties we serve,” said United States Attorney Nick Hanna. “Even as we come together as a nation to deal with the threat of COVID-19, there are individuals among us and across the globe who are attempting to use this crisis as an opportunity to exploit our fears and take advantage of our generosity.”
Members of the public are urged to report suspected fraud schemes related to the coronavirus and COVID-19 by calling the National Center for Disaster Fraud hotline at (866)720-5721, and emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
The NCDF enters complaints into a centralized system that can be accessed by all Justice Department prosecutors and law enforcement agencies including the FBI to identify, investigate and prosecute fraud schemes. The complaints are shared with 16 additional federal law enforcement agencies, state attorneys general and local authorities.
Hanna said his office is prioritizing the investigation and prosecution of coronavirus fraud schemes, including the online sale of bogus COVID-19 cures, the solicitation of donations for illegitimate or non-existent charitable organizations, and the distribution of ransomware through malicious websites and apps that promise to share coronavirus-related information.
Hanna has appointed Assistant United States Attorney Joseph O. Johns to serve as the office’s coronavirus fraud coordinator. Johns will serve as the legal counsel in the Central District of California on matters relating to the coronavirus, direct the prosecution of coronavirus-related crimes and conduct outreach and awareness activities.
For information, visit justice.gov/coronavirus.
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