Feds distribute medical supplies seized from man’s NJ warehouse
Federal agencies confiscated tens of thousands of medical supplies from a Brooklyn man who had been selling them at illegal marked-up rates from warehouses in New York and New Jersey.
The supplies have been sent to health departments in New Jersey, New York City and New York state, which will provide them to healthcare workers treating COVID-19 patients.
Among the items seized from the home of Baruch Feldheim, 43, were 192,000 N95 respirator masks, 130,000 surgical masks, procedure masks, N100 masks, surgical gowns, disinfectant towels, particulate filters, bottles of hand sanitizer, and bottles of spray disinfectant, according to the Department of Justice.
Feldheim was arrested Monday and accused of accumulating the items in order to sell them to doctors and nurses at inflated prices, according to New Jersey U.S. Attorney Craig Carpenito. Some of the supplies had been shipped from Canada, investigators said.
Feldheim was released March 30 on $50,000 bond. Feldheim will be paid fair-market value for the supplies, according to the Department of Justice.
In one case, Feldheim arranged to sell a New Jersey doctor 1,000 N95 masks and other assorted materials for $12,000, an approximately 700% markup from the normal price, according to Carpenito.
Feldheim received a shipment of eight pallets worth of medical facemasks on March 25 ordered from Canada, according to Carpenito, who said FBI agents noticed an empty box of N95 masks outside Feldheim's home and saw people come and go from the apartment with boxes and bags that appeared to have medical supplies in them.
When FBI agents went to his apartment during their investigation, Feldheim coughed at them and said he had coronavirus, according to Capenito. He said Feldheim lied to the agents and said he worked for a company that bought and sold personal protective equipment. He also told agents he never took physical custody of the materials and also denied having large quantities of materials.
Feldheim was charged with assaulting a federal officer and with making false statements to law enforcement. He made an initial court appearance on Monday.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said it used its powers under the Defense Protection Act to order the materials be redistributed.