Man charged for trying to sell feds masks that didn’t exist

By WND Staff

A Georgia man has been arrested on allegations by federal investigators that he tried to sell them $750 million worth of face masks and other personal protective equipment that doesn’t exist.

The Department of Justice identified the suspect in the alleged coronavirus scam as Christopher Parris, 39, of Atlanta. He was arrested and charged with “fraud for attempt[ing] to sell millions of nonexistent respirator masks to the Department of Veterans Affairs.”

The DOJ said the suspect wanted “large upfront payments.”

The criminal complaint for wire fraud alleges the suspect “made and caused to be made a series of fraudulent misrepresentations in an attempt to secure orders from the Department of Veterans Affairs for 125 million face masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) that would have totaled over $750 million.”

After his arrest, Parris appeared before Chief United States Magistrate Judge Alan J. Baverman in the United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, where he was ordered detained. He is to be extradited to the District of Columbia.

The government alleges, “Parris promised that he could obtain millions of genuine 3M masks from domestic factories when he knew that fulfilling the orders would not be possible.”

“We will vigorously pursue fraudsters who exploit the COVID-19 pandemic to make money,” said Attorney General William Barr. “As this case demonstrates, even beyond the typical costs associated with unlawful behavior, COVID-19 scams divert government time and resources and risk preventing front-line responders and consumers from obtaining the equipment they need to combat this pandemic. The Department of Justice will not tolerate this conduct, especially when it involves this kind of egregious attempt to target and defraud our nation’s treasures – our veterans.”

The case was investigated by the Department of Veterans Affairs, Office of the Inspector General and Homeland Security Investigations.

“During this time of crisis, fraud or attempted fraud impacting services for veterans, who have selflessly served this country, is unconscionable,” said U.S. Attorney Timothy Shea for the District of Columbia. “My office will devote whatever resources are necessary to stop scams aimed at exploiting Americans during this unprecedented pandemic.”

“Homeland Security Investigations special agents have sworn an oath to protect the American public, particularly during this health crisis, from opportunistic individuals who seek to deliberately harm and deceive others for their own profit,” said Special Agent in Charge Jere T. Miles, Homeland Security Investigations – New Orleans. “Today, our special agents have shown their commitment to that promise.”

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