Coronavirus Stimulus Fraud
In an effort to assist economic hardships created by the outbreak of the 2019 novel coronavirus and forced shutdowns, the federal government $2.2 trillion relief package known as the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES ACT includes economic impact payments or stimulus checks that were issued directly to American families.
Stimulus payments were issued through direct deposit, checks, and debit cards. Multiple agencies have begun investigating complaints related to coronavirus stimulus fraud. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) issued numerous warnings to consumers pertaining to COVID-19 stimulus payment scams. Their website notes that you should:
- Never have to pay a fee for your stimulus payment;
- Never respond to or give your social security number, bank account information or government benefits debit card account number to someone over the phone, via email, text message or on social media;
- Only submit information through irs.gov/coronavirus.
The FTC has issued two notices regarding known phishing scams involving COVID-19 stimulus payments include college students and nursing home residents.
Involvement with coronavirus stimulus fraud can result in severe consequences at both the state and federal level. Fraud is a serious offense that can lead to significant prison time if convicted. Check fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud are closely related offenses that can have enhanced penalties if committed during a disaster.
If you are charged with disaster-related fraud, you need to seek the help of an experienced fraud defense lawyer. Because you can be charged at both the state and federal level, you need an attorney who practices out of both jurisdictions.
About James Alston
Attorney James Alston is a board-certified criminal defense lawyer who spent eight years serving as a prosecutor for the Harris County District Attorney’s Office. As a state prosecutor, he was assigned to the Major Fraud Division, investigating and securing convictions on numerous white-collar crime cases. He then accepted a coveted position as an Assistant United States Attorney, prosecuting federal cases in the United States Attorney’s Office in Houston.
Contact the Law Offices of James Alston today at (713) 228-1400 to schedule a consultation. You need an aggressive representative to protect your rights and your freedom.