NJ Used Car Dealer Pleads Guilty to $45 Million NYC COVID Mask Fraud

3M had previously sued Ron Romano's company, saying it falsely represented itself to be an authorized vendor

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A New Jersey used car dealer pled guilty Tuesday to a $45 million scheme to sell personal protective equipment in the darkest days of the pandemic to New York City at a massive markup.

Ronald Romano of Manalapan pled guilty in federal court in Manhattan to conspiracy to violate the Defense Production Act. Prosecutors alleged Romano tried to sell 3M-brand face masks to NYC officials at a 400 percent markup over list price -- even though he was not an authorized distributor and did not actually have the masks.

The city did not pursue the purchase, after contacting 3M and verifying Romano's company was not a certified reseller.

Romano, 60, will be sentenced in September.

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