unilad
Advert
Advert
Advert
Advert

Officials Seize Nearly One Million Medical Masks And Gloves Hoarded By Price Gougers

by : Cameron Frew on : 03 Apr 2020 17:54
Officials Seize Nearly One Million Medical Masks And Gloves Hoarded By Price GougersOfficials Seize Nearly One Million Medical Masks And Gloves Hoarded By Price GougersPA Images

Nearly a million medical masks and gloves seized from a ‘hoarder’ by the FBI are to be redistributed to frontline healthcare workers in New York and New Jersey. 

Advert

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) confirmed the haul of personal protective equipment (PPE) yesterday, April 2.

This followed a March 30 operation by the FBI’s COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, which alerted HHS to the load and immediately ordered it be re-purposed under the Defense Production Act (DPA).

Coronavirus prevention medical surgical masks, gloves and hand sanitiser gel for hand hygieneCoronavirus prevention medical surgical masks, gloves and hand sanitiser gel for hand hygieneCoronavirus prevention medical surgical masks, gloves and hand sanitiser gel for hand hygieneCoronavirus prevention medical surgical masks, gloves and hand sanitiser gel for hand hygienePA Images

The haul, which will be donated to New York and New Jersey healthcare departments to help continue tackling the outbreak, included 598,000 medical grade gloves, 192,000 N95 respirator masks, 130,000 surgical masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters and bottles of hand sanitiser and spray disinfectant.

Advert

Alex Azar, HHS Sceretary, said in a statement

Cracking down on the hoarding of vital supplies allows us to distribute this material to the heroic healthcare workers on the frontlines who are most in need. Thanks to the quick work of the White House, the Department of Justice, and HHS, the seized resources were distributed in days to the doctors, nurses and first responders who need them.

No details have been released regarding the identity of the price gouger, nor the location in which the supplies were found. However, HHS is set to pay the owner of the hoarded equipment following the seizure at ‘pre-COVID-19 fair market value’.

Coronavirus prevention medical surgical masks, glovesCoronavirus prevention medical surgical masks, glovesPA Images

Across the US, there have been more than 257,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus (globally, the number has passed one million). In an effort to crack down on those capitalising on the pandemic, Peter Navarro, DPA Policy Coordinator, says this is the ‘first of many such investigations that are underway’.

He added: 

Our FBI agents and other law enforcement agencies are tracking down every tip and lead they get, and are devoting massive federal resources to this effort. All individuals and companies hoarding any of these critical supplies, or selling them at well above market prices, are hereby warned they should turn them over to local authorities or the federal government now or risk prompt seizure by the federal government.

Attorney General William P. Barr echoed his sentiments, warning ‘if you are amassing critical medical equipment for the purpose of selling it at exorbitant prices, you can expect a knock at your door’.

Advert
US Attorney General William BarrUS Attorney General William BarrPA Images

This comes shortly after a Brooklyn man was arrested for assaulting a federal officer (he also coughed in the FBI’s direction without covering his mouth, claiming to have coronavirus) and lying regarding his large accumulation of and profiteering from medical supplies.

Baruch Feldheim, 43, was accused of selling 1,000 N95 masks to a doctor for $12,000 – an alleged markup of nearly 700%. However, he ‘categorically denies these charges’.

It’s okay to not panic about everything going on in the world right now. LADbible and UNILAD’s aim with our campaign, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we’re facing. For more information from the World Health Organization, click here.

Cameron Frew

After graduating from Glasgow Caledonian University with an NCTJ and BCTJ-accredited Multimedia Journalism degree, Cameron ventured into the world of print journalism at The National, while also working as a freelance film journalist on the side, becoming an accredited Rotten Tomatoes critic in the process. He's now left his Scottish homelands and took up residence at UNILAD as a journalist.

Topics: News, Coronavirus, COVID-19, FBI, US Department Of Health And Human Services, US Department Of Justice

Credits

US Department of Health and Human Services and 1 other
  1. US Department of Health and Human Services

    DOJ and HHS Partner to Distribute More Than Half A Million Medical Supplies Confiscated From Price Gougers

  2. US Department of Justice

    Brooklyn Man Arrested for Assaulting FBI Agents and Making False Statements About His Possession and Sale of Scarce Medical Equipment