Federal prosecutors say a New York City man coughed on FBI agents and claimed to have the Chinese coronavirus as they arrested him on Monday for price gouging on medical supplies.
WCBS 880 reports:
U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito said on one occassion 43-year-old Baruch Feldheim allegedly agreed to sell a doctor in New Jersey approximately 1,000 N95 masks and other supplies for $12,000 — about a 700 percent markup.
Carpenito said the doctor met Feldheim in an auto repair shop in Irvington to pick up the items. When he arrived, authorities said the shop contained enough materials, including hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning supply agents, and surgical supplies, “to outfit an entire hospital. ”
When agents questioned Feldheim about the supplies, prosecutors say he coughed on them and then said he had the coronavirus. It’s not known if he actually has the virus.
“Feldheim further falsely stated that he did not possess large quantities of personal protective equipment materials and that he never sold them directly to individuals,” Carpenito said in a statement.
Prosecutors charged Feldheim with making false statements to authorities and assaulting an officer. For the assault charge, he faces one year in prison and a $100,000 fine, and a five-year sentence and $250,000 penalty for making false statements.
Earlier March, the Department of Justice launched a task force to fight price gouging medical supplies and essential products in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
Attorney General William Barr warned hoarders that the federal government has the authority to seize their products thanks to an executive order signed by President Donald Trump.
“If you have a big supply of toilet paper in your house, this is not something that you have to worry about, but if you are sitting on a warehouse with surgical masks, you will be hearing a knock on your door,” Barr said.