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The Coronavirus and Crime

There’s a new scam making its rounds on the Internet offering to put a person’s name on the list to receive the coronavirus immunization shot as soon as it has been approved by the FDA. In order for this government official (who says he’s using a pseudonym because his manipulation of the list is illegal) to add the person’s name, all that individual has to do is send off a staggering fee via bitcoin. If doubtful, he has the option of sending off a much smaller amount and checking to see if a lesser change has been made. The scammer speaks English well and doesn’t appear to be operating out of Asia. The spiel goes something like this. When the vaccine is approved it will not be available in huge numbers. Therefore, people in leadership positions will be inoculated first. Unfortunately, you’re not on the list for that, but I can put you on the list in exchange for your Internet currency. In a recent press conference, the president intimated there could be some additional illegal activity going on as well with respect to the protective masks. He was shocked to hear from a supplier that one New York hospital had increased its order from 10,000 masks per order to 300,000. When questioned by a reporter he stopped short of accusing anyone but wondered aloud if some of the masks might be leaving by the back door. The increase was just too large. In New York City that is not an unreasonable assumption. I remember hearing a few years ago that when wreckage was being hauled away from the collapsed World Trade Center buildings that much of the valuable content in that wreckage mysteriously disappeared. It had reportedly been diverted by the mob and sold on the black market. The president asked for an investigation as to why the increase in the number of masks being ordered is so great. I was browsing Craig’s List a few days ago and ran across an ad by someone selling rolls of toilet paper for $125 per roll. (I hope he finds no takers.) There is also an army of profiteers going from store to store and buying up paper goods and hand sanitizer in the hope of cornering the market and selling their wares at inflated prices. One auctioneer, I understand, has been charged with profiteering for selling such items at a ridiculously high price ...

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