Gardner Takes on COVID-19 Scams and Fraud

Proposes new legislation to protect seniors and vulnerable members of the population from bad actors

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO) is proposing harsher fines and punishment for individuals who use the COVID-19 pandemic to prey on people with scams and fraud. He plans to introduce the Combating Egregious Advertising through Sentencing Enhancement (CEASE) Act, which greatly increases the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) fines and punishment for false advertising during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is an unprecedented challenge that Coloradans everywhere are rising to meet, but unfortunately there are bad actors who want to prey on the fear and uncertainty caused by this pandemic to rip off the most vulnerable among us,” said Senator Gardner. “My legislation, the CEASE Act, makes clear that we will not tolerate and we will heavily punish people who use this crisis to take advantage of others during this pandemic.” 

Gardner’s 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.


Cory Gardner is a member of the U.S. Senate serving Colorado. He sits on the Energy & Natural Resources Committee, the Foreign Relations Committee, the Commerce, Science, & Transportation Committee, and is the Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asia, the Pacific, and International Cybersecurity Policy.