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New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal. Photo by Kevin Sanders for the New Jersey Globe.

State, federal authorities launching joint COVID-19 task force

‘If you’re trying to rip off the public, we will find you and come after you,’ Carpenito says

By Nikita Biryukov, March 30 2020 3:59 pm

State and federal authorities announced the creation of a joint COVID-19 task force Monday.

“An unprecedented public health crisis creates an unprecedented opportunity for scammers and con artists,” Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said. “Now more than ever, we need to work together to protect our community from fraud.”

The task force, an effort led by Grewal, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito and acting State Comptroller Kevin Walsh, will seek to hammer down on cases of fraud related to the pandemic, including unlawful hoarding of medical supplies, price gouging, charity scams, procurement fraud, insurance fraud, phishing schemes, and false and misleading investment opportunities.

Multiple federal agencies, including the FBI, U.S. Secret service, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and inspector generals from the Department of Health and Human Services, Social Security Administration will cooperate to form the investigative body.

“Attorney General Grewal and I have a well-established, close working relationship, and we both felt it was incredibly important at this time that we combine our resources and form a joint COVID-19 Task Force,” Carpenito said. “Our two offices, working in concert with all of our law enforcement partners, will ensure that that there is a solid front protecting the public from criminals who are attempting to illegally profit from this health crisis.

“Whether you’re price-gouging on necessities or hawking phony cures or protections, if you’re trying to rip off the public, we will find you and come after you,” he said.

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