Overview of Federal Criminal Laws Implicated by the COVID-19 Pandemic [April 13, 2020] [open pdf - 653KB]
From the Document: "As numerous recent incidents indicate, the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic's impact extends to the world of crime. News stories abound of attempts to profit from the pandemic by stockpiling masks, hand sanitizer, and other staples to sell at a significant markup. Reports have also circulated about scams involving the sale of fake COVID-19 test kits and cures, counterfeit surgical masks, substandard hand sanitizer, and unauthorized medicines. [...] Still other COVID-19-related illicit conduct is of a more violent nature, as evidenced by recent reports of individuals publicly attacking Asians and Asian Americans, erroneously accusing them of causing or spreading COVID-19. The Department of Justice (DOJ) warns of the possibility of another offense: the intentional infection of or threat to infect others with COVID-19. [...] Although state criminal laws likely govern much COVID-19-related conduct, given the concern expressed by some Members over the pandemic's effect on justice and law enforcement issues, this Sidebar examines the primary federal criminal statutes that may be relevant to criminal activity related to the ongoing pandemic. It discusses, in order: (1) the mail fraud and wire fraud statutes, (2) the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), (3) the Defense Production Act (DPA), (4) terrorism statutes and threat statutes, and (5) the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA)."
CRS Legal Sidebar, LSB10446
Congressional Research Service: https://crsreports.congress.gov/