Baruch Feldheim was allegedly stockpiling respirators and selling them on the black market.
A New York man being arrested for his involvement in a price-gouging black market ring selling personal protective equipment and N95 respirator masks coughed on federal agents arresting him in Brooklyn on Sunday.
Baruch Feldheim was allegedly overseeing a black market enterprise importing entire warehouses of N95 respirators and selling them at outrageous markups of up to 700% to medical personnel that require them to treat Chinese coronavirus patients.
Prosecutors state that a New Jersey doctor in need of respirators was forced to contact Feldheim in a WhatsApp group chat labeled ‘Virus2020!’ on March 18th. The New York man agreed to sell 1,000 N95 masks and other medical equipment for $12,000– a whopping 700% markup on their standard retail price.
When the doctor met up with Feldheim at an area auto repair shop, he described seeing firsthand a coronavirus medical equipment stash warehouse that contains enough supplies to outfit an entire hospital. FBI agents later recorded Feldheim received a massive shipment of eight pallets of medical facemasks from Canada, and trying to get a nurse seeking to purchase medical equipment to come to his home.
Federal agents questioned Feldheim about the black market mask ring at his home on Sunday, and recount the man intentionally coughing on them. Shockingly, sources recount that the suspected price gouger then told federal agents that he had the coronavirus.
He’s now being charged with assaulting a federal officer and making false statements to law enforcement. If convicted, he could face up to six years in prison and a $350,000 fine.
Another New Jersey primary care physician, Dr. Alexander Salerno, has recounted having to resort to the black market in order to obtain the protective equipment he desperately needs in order to safeguard his own medical staff on the frontlines of fighting the coronavirus epidemic. It’s unclear if Salerno purchased equipment from Feldheim’s black market stash.
“We have to go out and we have to go literally to these black market brokers or black market pirates and we are paying like 400 – 800% markups to get the protective barriers so I can fulfill that promise of protecting our staff.”
This is a time to marshal resources behind a collective effort to contain the coronavirus epidemic, not allow black market pirates to gouge the medical supply market.