© [2020], NCBFAA, Washington D.C., News Release. Originally published [04/15/2020]. www.ncbfaa.orgReprinted by permission.

Announced during the Commercial Operations Advisory Committee (COAC) this afternoon, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) launched Operation Stolen Promise to combat COVID-19 related fraud and other criminal activity. The operation intensifies collaboration with multiple federal departments and agencies, along with business and industry representatives. Surging criminal activity surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic requires an equally robust investigative response to protect the American public. 

In the release, HSI Acting Executive Associate Director Alysa D. Erichs said, “HSI will bring every asset to bear against anyone targeting consumers with financial schemes or fraudulent products that jeopardize the health and safety of Americans. This unified effort brings a whole-of-government approach to monitor, investigate and arrest those responsible for endangering the public with criminal acts of fraud related to the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

As of April 14, HSI special agents have opened over 130 investigations nationwide, seized over three million dollars in illicit proceeds; made nine arrests; executed seven search warrants; sinkholed over 11,000 COVID-19 domain names and worked alongside U.S. Customs and Border Protection to seize over 225 shipments of mislabeled, fraudulent, unauthorized or prohibited COVID-19 test kits, treatment kits, homeopathic remedies, purported anti-viral products and personal protective equipment (PPE). The launch of the operation is in direct response to a significant increase in criminal activity.