ST. PAUL — The state’s attorney general and U.S. attorney have assembled a team aimed at clamping down on illegal activity related to the coronavirus.
It will focus on investigating and prosecuting crimes that exploit the pandemic, such as price-gouging, scams, hoarding of essential medical supplies, cybercrimes and “schemes targeting economic impact payments,” along with other related criminal activity, according to information released Monday, April 6.
The team also will field concerns related to hate-crimes connected to coronavirus.
Authorities are asking residents to be on the lookout for such behaviors and to report them to the newly formed Minnesota COVID-19 Action Team via a COVID-19-specific complaint form. Residents can also call the attorney general’s office directly at (651) 296-3353 or (800) 657-3787.
The team will be led by the attorney general’s office, the U.S. attorney’s office and the Minnesota County Attorneys Association, and will serve as a “clearinghouse” for such complaints that will then be fielded out to the appropriate criminal and civil investigative agencies.
“The vast majority of people and businesses … (are) doing right by each other, their customers, and communities, and we thank them. But for those that aren’t — for those who are profiteering off the pandemic or using it as a pretext to attack other people — we’re not standing for it. We’re pooling all our resources to come after them and to help all other Minnesotans afford their lives and live with dignity and respect,” Attorney General Keith Ellison said in a statement on the task force.