Nevada U.S. Attorney Nicholas Trutanich on Wednesday appointed a special prosecutor to lead coronavirus fraud investigations.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie Mickelson also would help “develop strategies to detect and prevent fraud schemes” related to the pandemic, according to the Department of Justice.
“Wrongdoers seeking to take advantage of individuals – through fraud or force – during this health crisis are now on notice,” Trutanich said in a news release. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office COVID-19 Fraud Coordinator will be working with law enforcement at all levels to investigate and prosecute those who exploit the fears of Nevadans for personal gain. This conduct will not be tolerated in Nevada.”
With a growing number of confirmed cases of the virus throughout Nevada and across the country, the release stated that the federal justice system would “continue to operate effectively during the crisis.” The appointment was the result of “guidance” of the U.S. Attorney General William Barr, which placed a “priority all criminal conduct related to the current pandemic.”
Trutanich vowed to prosecute those who take advantage of emergency response efforts and violate the public safety “in connection with the manufacturing, distribution, or sale of public health products such as face masks, respirators, and diagnostics.”