New York Man Is Arrested For Hoarding Masks And Coughing On FBI Agents
As the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc around the world, there are still some people who are trying to make a profit out of the situation. One such man from Brooklyn, New York, claimed he was infected with the coronavirus and coughed on FBI agents who were investigating him for hoarding medical supplies.
According to the US Attorney's Office, 43-year-old Baruch Feldheim is facing charges of assault and making false statements to the FBI.
He was allegedly storing a huge amount of medical supplies - including N95 respirator masks, hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning agents and surgical gowns and supplies - and reselling them at greatly inflated prices.
According to a statement from the Attorney's Office, he is accused of selling a doctor from New Jersey approximately 1,000 N95 masks and other assorted materials for $12,000 (£9,600) on March 18. According to authorities, that's a markup of roughly 700 percent.
He also allegedly directed a different doctor to an auto repair shop in Irvington, New Jersey where, the doctor later told investigators, Feldheim was allegedly hoarding enough medical supplies 'to outfit an entire hospital'.
Feldheim also allegedly received a gigantic shipment from Canada containing about eight pallets of face masks. FBI agents staked out the suspect's house after noticing empty boxes of N95 masks outside his home, and subsequently witnessed 'multiple instances' of people approaching the house and leaving with what looked like medical supplies.
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It was then that the FBI agents approached Feldheim outside his house, keeping a safe social distance from the suspect due to coronavirus fears.
"When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim
allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth," said a statement released by the US
attorney. "At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents
that that he had the coronavirus."
Feldheim then reportedly lied to FBI agents, saying he worked for a company that bought and sold personal protective equipment (PPE) and that he himself never took physical custody of the materials.
After Feldheim's arrest, the FBI raided a warehouse in Linden, New Jersey on Monday, where they discovered Feldheim's suspected stash face masks. The eight pallets were then loaded onto a truck and confiscated.
Feldheim faces a maximum penalty of one year in prison or an $100,000 (£80,000) fine for the assault charges. He faces up to five years in prison or a $250,000 (£200,000) fine for providing false statements to the FBI.
It's okay to not panic. LADbible and UNILAD's aim with our series, Cutting Through, is to provide our community with facts and stories from the people who are either qualified to comment or have experienced first-hand the situation we're facing. For more information from the World Health Organisation on coronavirus, click here.
Featured Image Credit: Christopher Sadowski
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