California men accused of trying to sell millions of nonexistent medical masks
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Authorities on Monday accused two California men of trying to sell millions of nonexistent medical masks to buyers during the coronavirus pandemic.

Donald Allen, 62, and Manuel Revolorio, 37, were arrested and charged with alleged conspiracy to commit wire fraud. The pair attempted to influence a buyer to send them more than $4 million to secure masks that they did not actually have, according to a release from the Department of Justice (DOJ).

Allen and Revolorio allegedly misrepresented their business experience, their inventory of personal protective equipment (PPE) and their right to resell that equipment. 

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The two men created a website for their company entitled International Commerce and Investment Group (ICIG), which falsely said they had worked with global traders, medical institutions and other organizations selling PPE since 2014, according to the release. 

The pair also said ICIG had contracts to resell millions of masks and allegedly displayed sealed and shrink-wrapped empty boxes at their office to make it seem like they were filled with masks. 

Allen and Revolorio allegedly showed a federal law enforcement officer acting as a representative of an investor more than 1 million masks owned by an unassociated third party, the release said. 

“The defendants in this case allegedly created an elaborate scam to defraud their victim, going as far as to wrap and label empty boxes and try to pass them off as containing actual personal protective equipment,” DOJ COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force head Craig Carpenito said in the release. 

“The public should be on guard against these types of schemes, and the perpetrators of them should know that the Department of Justice and its partners are working all the time to disrupt their attempts to prey on the public,” he added.

Hospitals and states across the country have reported struggles trying to obtain enough PPE to treat the number of coronavirus patients.