A Brooklyn man has been accused of lying about hoarding medical supplies and of coughing on police officers, officials announced Monday.
Baruch Feldheim, 43, was arrested over his alleged large supply and illegal sale of surgical masks, medical gowns and other medical supplies. He also was charged with assault for allegedly coughing on FBI agents while saying he had COVID-19, U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito announced in a release.
Feldheim allegedly sold medical supplies, including N95 respirators, to doctors and nurses at an inflated price.
On March 18, a New Jersey doctor requested 1,000 N95 masks in a WhatsApp chat group entitled “Virus2020!”, according to documents filed or statements made in association with the case. Feldheim allegedly charged him $12,000 for the masks, amounting to about a 700 percent markup.
The doctor was instructed to pick up the supplies at an auto repair shop in Irvington, N.J., which he was told had enough materials to fill a hospital with hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning supply agents and surgical supplies.
Feldheim allegedly received a shipment from Canada with about eight pallets of medical face masks on March 25. Two days later, FBI agents found an empty box of N95 masks outside his home.
FBI officers reported seeing multiple individuals approach his home and leave with boxes or bags that seemed to hold medical supplies on Sunday, leading them to approach Feldheim.
They told him they wanted to remain distant from him due to the virus’s spread, leading him to cough in their direction. Once officials said they were searching for medical equipment and heard he had large amounts, he told the agents he had coronavirus, according to the Justice Department's statement.
Feldheim allegedly told officers he worked for a company that bought and sold the medical supplies but that he didn’t physically have the equipment, did not have large quantities and hadn’t sold them directly to individuals.
He could face up to six years in prison and a fine of up to $350,000.
The Department of Health and Human Services designated specific health and medical resources, including N95 respirators and face masks, as scarce. Attorney General William BarrBill BarrMeadows hires former deputy AG to represent him in Jan. 6 probe: report Why it's time for conservatives to accept the 2020 election results and move on Bannon's subpoena snub sets up big decision for Biden DOJ MORE announced last week that hoarders and price gougers of medical supplies would be charged.