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New bill would make COVID-19 scams a second-degree felony

WEllington vaccine.jpg
COVID-19 vaccine site in Wellington (WPEC)

A new bill aimed at making certain pandemic scams chargeable offenses is headed to the desk of Governor DeSantis after passing the House and gaining support by all Senators.

Since the start of the pandemic, officials across the country and the state have been warning residents about scams targeting vulnerable groups in our community.

Scams promising vaccines or surrounding PPE would be considered a third-degree felony under this new bill called HB 9.

See also: DeSantis suspends all local COVID-19 emergency orders

If a person commits either offense a second time, the charge becomes a second-degree felony.

According to Dave Aronberg, this is a step in the right direction.

He tells CBS12 News that previously these scams were considered civil cases and only fines could be brought against a particular person or company.

Data shows pandemic scams were occurring nationwide. According to the Department of Homeland Security, more than 19,000 new websites selling Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) emerged as COVID-19 began to spread in the U.S.

The bill would ensure Floridians can take action if they are scammed because of the pandemic.