AG Fitch joins effort to protect seniors from COVID-19-related fraud

Mississippi Attorney General Lynn Fitch has joined a bipartisan effort to protect senior citizens from fraud in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Fitch joined a coalition of 44 Attorneys General, led by Louisiana AG Jeff Landry and Wisconsin AG Josh Kaul, urging Congress to add ‘Edith’s Bill’ in the latest COVID-19 relief legislation — a move that would include victims of senior fraud as eligible for reimbursement by the Crime Victims Fund for states that provide compensation to victims.

In a news release, Fitch explained that scam artists know that seniors are especially at risk from COVID-19 and they are targeting seniors who are isolated at home, separated from families and support networks.

As just one example, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General has warned that fraudsters “are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare beneficiaries in exchange for personal details, including Medicare information.” 

“As Mississippi’s chief legal officer, I am committed to protecting our seniors who are especially vulnerable to fraud and abuse, fighting to safeguard the retirement savings they worked a lifetime to build,” Fitch said. “Edith’s Bill is an important step to providing victims with the financial relief they deserve.”

She further explained that ‘Edith’s Bill’ would also amend the VOCA so that penalties and fines from deferred prosecution and non-prosecution agreements, which can include white-collar criminal conduct against seniors, are deposited into the Crime Victims Fund.

“Even after the pandemic, it is widely expected that seniors will continue to be targeted by fraudsters. By using this legislation to add senior fraud as an eligible reimbursement expense under VOCA, states will be able to help victims receive the financial relief they deserve. States would be incentivized but not mandated by this legislation to provide compensation to victims of senior fraud,” the release from the first-term attorney general said. 

To read the full letter sent by the AGs to Congress, click here.