By Joshua Huff, sports editor
MONTGOMERY — A task force consisting of multiple state and federal agencies was introduced on Wednesday, April 23, to investigate financial crimes related to the coronavirus pandemic.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall announced that the task force, which is to be a subcommittee of the Economic Crime Alliance of Alabama, will investigate financial crimes directly related to the virus. Those crimes encapsulate stimulus payment fraud, personal protective equipment fraud, COVID-19 testing and treatment fraud, fake charities related to coronavirus, price gouging, hoarding of personal protective equipment designated as scarce, fraud targeting the elderly, and other fraudulent and criminal behavior associated with the current pandemic.
“As our nation and state grapple with the societal disruption of a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, criminal elements have preyed upon widespread fear and uncertainty to victimize the public,” Marshall said. “Due to the broad nature of the financial crimes being perpetrated against the public, a dedicated team of state and federal partners has been assembled to channel resources and expertise to identify criminals and bring them to justice.”
The multi-agency task force will include the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, the Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, the Alabama Department of Labor, the Alabama Securities Commission, the Alabama State Banking Department, the Alabama Department of Revenue, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as well as the U.S. Secret Service, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Postal Service, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of Inspector General, the U.S. Social Security Administration, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“The combined reach of these state and federal agencies will be leveraged to pinpoint and investigate criminal activity which will then be prosecuted by state and federal prosecutors of the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, local district attorneys, as well as the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama,” Marshall said. “Those who seek to use the COVID-19 pandemic to steal from the vulnerable and the sick should have no refuge. Our law enforcement alliance is actively working to end their campaign of fraud and deception.”