Staten Island Man Accused of Selling PPE Up to 500 Times Above Original Price

N95 Medical Mask
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A Staten Island man was arrested Wednesday for allegedly selling personal protective equipment for up to 500 times their original prices and misleading customers about their availability.

Prosecutors say Kevin Jay Lipsitz violated the Defense Production Act by selling items that were designated as scarce due to the COVID-19 pandemic at higher prices. Lipsitz is also accused of wire fraud because he allegedly lied to customers about his inventory and his ability to timely ship PPE and other medical materials to customers.

Between February and April 2020, the 61-year-old CEO of Inc. allegedly stockpiled PPE, including facemasks and N-95 and KN-95 filtering face-piece respirators, and sold them at markups ranging from 150% to over 500% above his purchase price, according to the criminal complaint.

“As alleged in the complaint, this defendant not only overcharged for desperately needed personal protective equipment, he lied to his customers about how fast he could ship their orders, taking their money up front and leaving them with nothing to show for it," said Craig Carpenito, head of the Department of Justice’s nationwide COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force.

Separately, the Federal Trade Commission has filed civil charges against Lipsitz.

It wasn't immediately clear whether Lipsitz had a representative who could comment on the charges.

Copyright NBC New York
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