Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) announced on Tuesday that agents of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) have seized more than 900 shipments of fake or substandard medical equipment and supplies – including test kits and alleged treatment for COVID-19 Huh.
The agency announced the marking 100 days after the April launch of Operation Stole Promise, meant to “protect Homeland from the increasing and evolving threat posed by COVID-19-related fraud and criminal activity.”
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In addition to the seizure of hundreds of shipments, HSI said its agents launched 570 criminal investigations and made 53 arrests. Agents have seized more than $ 7 million in “illegal income”, including $ 2.2 million obtained through fraud related to the CARES Act.
“While there are no approved remedies for COVID-19, that is not stopping fraudsters illegally selling these products and other counterfeit or prohibited medical supplies and test kits to American consumers,” executive executive of HSI Director Assssa Erichs said the statement.
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Those arrested include a Washington state doctor who says authorities “demanded more than $ 3 million in paycheck protection program (PPP) loans.” A Georgia woman was also arrested after attempting to import and sell unregistered pesticides, alleging that she would protect people from COVID-19.
“We’re seeing an ups and down in the Cars Act fraud that has doubled since June,” Erich said. “We are encouraging everyone to be extra vigilant, especially when going online, and know the red flag, so as to avoid being a victim of fraud.”