The United States Attorney for the District of Massachusetts is proactively seeking to find, investigate, and prosecute unlawful attempts to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic and is asking hospitals to assist. U.S. Attorney Andrew Lelling sent a letter to leaders of Massachusetts hospitals asking them to report any "individuals and companies that may have acquired vital medical supplies in excess of what they would reasonably use, or for the purpose of charging exorbitant prices." The Secretary of Health and Human Services has designated 15 categories of supplies as " scarce," thereby enabling prosecutors to seek certain civil and criminal enforcement remedies against anyone accused of hoarding or gouging prices for those supplies. The U.S. Attorney's office will prioritize investigating and prosecuting such conduct, as well other fraudulent schemes designed to take advantage of the pandemic, including purveying phony treatments, tests, or vaccines. Though the U.S. Attorney directed his letter to Massachusetts hospitals, any facility or provider in the Commonwealth's health care system, including nursing homes and rehabilitation facilities, are encouraged to report suspected fraud. There is no doubt that federal and state authorities, including the Massachusetts Attorney General, will devote substantial resources to deterring, investigating, and prosecuting fraud connected to the pandemic.
Originally Published 21 April, 2020
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