U.S. Attorney General William Barr has ordered all United States Attorneys to establish task forces in their districts to investigate and prosecute crimes related to COVID-19, especially in health care. Such a directive by the nation’s top law enforcement official puts the general public on notice of an increased focus and priority by all levels of federal law enforcement on the investigation and enforcement of policies and procedures relating to COVID-19 relief. In collaboration with Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and other law enforcement agencies, the Department of Justice has already established task forces specifically tasked with significant dedicated resources and Assistant U.S. Attorneys to prosecute these cases.

The prosecutors and law enforcement will be looking to apply a variety of federal criminal statutes related to healthcare fraud, wire fraud, computer fraud, mail fraud, counterfeiting and identity fraud. Such investigations will even look for violations of the Food Drug and Cosmetic Act, the Consumer Product and Safety Act and the Defense Production Act.

Harris Beach attorneys Terrance Flynn and Christian Flemming expanded on the COVID-19 task forces in this legal alert.