TUCSON, Ariz. — Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich and United States Attorney Michael Bailey announced the formation of a joint federal, state, and local task force to combat coronavirus-related fraud.
"It’s not surprising con artists are taking advantage of headlines and exploiting COVID-19 concerns and anxieties of consumers," said Attorney General Mark Brnovich. "The Attorney General’s Office is here to serve Arizonans and is working around the clock to combat fraud, but we can't do it alone. The launch of this new COVID-19 Task Force with our federal and local partners will maximize our resources and help ensure we are prepared to combat new and evolving consumer threats."
The COVID-19 Fraud Task Force brings together a dozen partners from across the state, with the goal of combining resources and information to better investigate and prosecute wrongdoers that seek to profit from the public health crisis. The mission of the Task Force is to streamline the government’s response to reports of fraud related to COVID-19 in Arizona.
"The FBI is proud to be a member of Arizona's COVID-19 Fraud Task Force," said Sean Kaul, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI Phoenix Field Office. "We are committed to aggressively pursuing bad actors who are utilizing the COVID-19 pandemic to commit cyber, financial, and healthcare fraud, including withholding critical supplies from our citizens, healthcare workers, and first responders."
On April 6, the Federal Trade Commission reported that it had received almost 12,000 consumer complaints related to COVID-19 in just three months. Well over half of those complaints were fraud-related, with a total loss to consumers of $8.39 million.