Senator Capito takes on COVID-19 scams and fraud

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) joined her colleagues Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) in introducing legislation that proposes harsher fines and punishment for individuals who use the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on people with scams and fraud. The legislation, the Combating Egregious Advertising through Sentencing Enhancement (CEASE) Act, would greatly increases the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) fines and punishment for false advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Taking advantage of people’s fears and anxieties during a global pandemic is particularly egregious,” Senator Capito said. “West Virginia is home to thousands of senior citizens, who are especially at risk for these kinds of scams. With the CEASE Act, we’re making sure malicious actors who conduct these scams face increased monetary and jail time penalties.”

The bill increases the FTC’s penalties for false advertising during COVID-19 from a $5,000 fine and/or up to six months in jail for the first offense to a $50,000 fine and/or up to a year in jail. It also increases penalties for repeat offenses by making it a felony and increasing the fine from $10,000 and/or up to one year in jail to $250,000 and/or one to five years in jail.

The bill text is available here.

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