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Georgia among 44 states pushing to reimburse elderly victims of coronavirus-related fraud
Photo courtesy of Alissa Eckert, MS; Dan Higgins, MAM. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

By Dave Williams 

Capitol Beat News Service

ATLANTA – Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr and 43 of his colleagues around the country are urging Congress to make elderly victims of fraud eligible for federal assistance during the coronavirus pandemic.

The bipartisan group of attorneys general is pushing to include a provision for senior fraud victims in the latest COVID-19 relief package now before lawmakers.

“Scam artists are preying on seniors because they know this group is especially at risk from COVID-19,” Carr said. “Bad actors are targeting seniors as they are isolated at home, separated from families and support networks.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has warned that scammers are offering COVID-19 tests to Medicare recipients in exchange for personal information.

The attorneys general are proposing an amendment to the Victims of Crime Act of 1984 to make elderly victims of fraud eligible for reimbursement through the Crime Victims Fund, which is administered by the states. The bill also calls for depositing penalties and other fines collected from perpetrators of senior fraud into the fund.

The legislation would incentivize states to provide compensation to fraud victims but would not require them to do so.

Congressional Democrats and the White House remain far apart on how to craft a new coronavirus relief package. Disagreements include how much in weekly unemployment benefits to pay unemployed workers through a federal program that expired at the end of last month and whether aid to state and local governments should be included in the legislation.