Show of hands: Who thought we’d still be living in this dystopian nightmare in June? I certainly didn’t, but here we are, nonetheless. We’re living in a pretty scary time, which for some will turn into opportunity.
It’s just a fact of life that fear always leads to someone creating a new generation of scams to take advantage of the situation. Even if you didn’t intend your end game to be a crime, if it results in one you can bet you’ll be arrested for some type of theft or fraud charge, or worse. Law enforcement is ready for it and they don’t have a lot of patience or sympathy for people who use tragedies for personal benefit so be prepared to call a criminal defense lawyer.
They also might knock if you:
- Use a phone scam to extort money
- Sell fake cures
- Peddle fake test kits
- Threaten to intentionally infect someone with coronavirus unless they pay up
- Con people out of stimulus checks
I heard the police won’t arrest someone with Covid-19
Oh, but they will. They’ll do it very carefully, but they’ll definitely throw the cuffs on you if you’ve broken the law even for minor crimes. If they catch you stealing some old woman’s stimulus money they may use an extra set of cuffs on you, just for the optics.
In May, a Georgia woman found out that she couldn’t avoid an arrest for driving under suspension by claiming to have coronavirus. When the arresting officers tried to book her, the detention center refused because of the risk of infecting others in the jail so they let her go. It didn’t end there. Police investigated and determined that she falsified her diagnosis. Now she’s also facing a misdemeanor for making a false statement.
A Missouri man also lied about having covid-19 in an attempt to get out of an arrest for being naked on church grounds. Instead of letting him go, police had him tested and when the results came back negative, he was charged with felony terroristic threatening, along with trespassing and sexual misconduct. That’s probably not what he had in mind when he claimed to have a deadly virus.
What if I just play hooky from work?
Since the dawn of time people have been trying to come up with creative, undetectable excuses to get a day off work. Sometimes it’s to take a vacation; others it’s just for a much needed mental health break. If you fib about having coronavirus though, you may be getting more time off than you bargained for. In fact, you could be facing federal charges.
In May, a Georgia man falsely told his employer – complete with fraudulent doctor’s note – that he was infected with the virus and couldn’t come to work. Not only was he arrested by the FBI for fraud, but he caused damage to others in excess of $100,000 when:
- His employer had to close for deep cleaning
- Workers unnecessarily self-quarantined
- Coworkers and their families experienced emotional distress due to fear of becoming infected
Coronavirus can be blamed for many things but it’s not likely to get you off the hook when you commit a crime and are being placed under arrest. In some cases, falsely claiming to have the virus will land you in a deeper hole requiring more serious legal representation.
If you or a loved one has been accused of a crime, the best step you can take to protect yourself is to hire a qualified criminal defense attorney to ensure that your rights are not violated. Schedule your free consultation for criminal defense representation with Drew Cochran, Attorney at Law today at my Annapolis or Ellicott City offices by calling 410-777-8103, or by reaching out to me through my firm’s contact page.
Just remember – Keep Calm, and Call Drew.