ICE Partners With 6 Firms to Target COVID-19 Crimes

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations unit has launched an effort with six companies to mitigate fraud and other criminal activities that may result from the COVID-19 pandemic.

HSI partnered with 3M, Amazon, Alibaba, Citi, Merck and Pfizer to combat criminals selling counterfeit medical equipment, pharmaceuticals and illicit treatment options as part of an effort known as “Operation Stolen Promise” launched in April, ICE said Tuesday.

The industry team will work with HSI’s National Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Center to support criminal investigations in efforts to protect the U.S. supply chain against cybercrime, financial fraud and illegal trade operations.

Mike Roman, chairman and CEO of 3M, said the company is supporting HSI’s efforts to combat individuals using the company’s brand name to gouge prices and sell counterfeit objects.

Dharmesh Mehta, vice president for customer trust and partner support at Amazon, added that the firm has “proactively stopped” over 6.5M products with illegitimate claims as well as 1M cases of price gouging and 10K accounts involved in illegal activities to date.

According to HSI, the agency has seized over $3.2M in proceeds from unauthorized COVID-19 treatment products and equipment including test kits and personal protective equipment.

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