Since the World Health Organization officially declared the pandemic on March 11th, consumers in the United States have lost at least $77 million due to fraud, ranging from excessive prices charged for basic necessities to buying alleged cures for the coronavirus. State Attorneys General (AGs) have responded with vigorous efforts to combat these scams across a wide swath of industries.
But consumers are not the only targets. State governments continue to be scammed by contractors as well. Yesterday, both U.S. Senators from Michigan exposed the fact that a company called Fillakit provided Michigan and eight other states millions of faulty test kits pursuant to a no-bid contract with the federal government. Noting that the tubes provided by the company were not the appropriate size for use in existing laboratory equipment, were in fact just repurposed soda bottle preforms and not manufactured or packaged in sterile conditions, the faulty test kits compromised the ability of the states to effectively detect and prevent the further spread of COVID-19.
There is little question fraud on the states as whole will be a fruitful avenue of AG activity through the end of 2021.
“Scammers are seeing this as an unprecedented opportunity to take advantage of consumers, who are not only in dire financial straits but are being inundated with information about Covid cures or protections that are dubious at best and fraudulent at worst,” he said.