Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council joins statewide COVID-19 Fraud Task Force
The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia (PAC), the overarching judicial branch government agency charged with assisting State of Georgia prosecuting attorneys in their efforts against criminal activity, has joined forces with the Governor’s Office, U.S. Attorneys and Georgia’s Attorney General as the newest member of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Fraud Task Force.
“Our law enforcement efforts are strongest when the ‘good guys’ coordinate their efforts against ‘bad guys,’ including scam artists,” said Bobby L. Christine, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Georgia. “We’re proud to partner with PAC as we protect Georgia’s citizens.”
The Executive Director of PAC, Pete Skadalakis, will serve on the task force alongside Georgia’s three U.S. Attorneys, the Attorney General of Georgia and the Executive Counsel for the Governor’s Office.
“When we announced the COVID-19 Fraud Task Force in early April, we made it clear that any attempts to take advantage of Georgians as we continue to navigate this public health crisis would not be tolerated,” said Gov. Brian P. Kemp. “Today, that commitment remains the same. I am grateful Pete Skandalakis and the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council are joining the task force. I know they will be a great help as we continue to prioritize the safety and well-being of all Georgians.”
“The Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia is proud to join in this effort,” said Pete Skandalakis, PAC Executive Director. “Sadly, it is all too common for bad actors to prey on our most vulnerable citizens, especially during times of crisis. We must all work together to protect unsuspecting Georgians against criminal acts of fraud.”
“Our office is proud to partner with all three of our U.S. Attorneys, the Governor’s Office and now the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia. Given the extremely high volume of activity in these unprecedented times, this network will allow us to leverage our unique assets and ensure that price gougers and fraudsters are held accountable,” said Attorney General Chris Carr.
“Because our state has begun the process of re-opening does not mean scammers are going to stop,” said Byung J. “BJay” Pak, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. “We will deploy all available enforcement tools against anyone who tries to take advantage of people during this pandemic. District Attorney’s from across the state are joining the Task Force and providing us even stronger prosecution partnerships.”
“I want our citizens to know that prosecutors at every level in our state are committed to enforcing the laws that protect Georgians, and we will not tolerate fraudsters using this deadly pandemic for their own personal gain,” said Charlie Peeler, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Georgia. “We are thankful to have the state’s prosecuting attorneys represented on the COVID-19 Task Force, which serves to further strengthen our collective efforts to track down and punish fraudsters.”
Georgia’s COVID-19 Task Force is warning the public to be on the lookout for potential increased criminal activity related to federal stimulus checks, fake COVID-19 cures, personal protective equipment (PPE) price-gouging and fair housing violations. To date, the Consumer Protection Division (CPD) of the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia has received nearly 1,000 reports of price gouging or scams related to COVID-19, the majority regarding food, toilet paper, water, and hand sanitizer.
The public can report potential scams to the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) by calling 1-866-720-5721 or at justice.gov/DisasterComplaintForm, or file complaints with the Georgia Attorney General’s Office by calling 800-869-1123 (toll-free) or at consumer.ga.gov.
Formed in April 2020, Georgia’s COVID-19 Fraud Task Force is aimed at better protecting the citizens of Georgia from criminal fraud arising from the pandemic. The task force enhances communication between partner agencies to more rapidly share information about COVID-19 fraud, while ensuring each fraud complaint is reported to the appropriate prosecuting agency. Task force member agencies include the Office of the Governor of Georgia, the Office of the Attorney General of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Georgia, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Georgia and the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.