Philadelphia Man Charged With Failing to Deliver on PPE Order Worth $7M
Another person is being charged with fraud after failing to deliver on a large PPE order.
This time, it’s a Philadelphia man accused of scamming more than $700,000 from two New York companies. Guaravjit Singh reportedly said that his business, Mask Medical LLC, had connections to a Chinese medical gown manufacturer, and agreed to sell 1.5 medical gowns totaling about $7.125 million.
According to NBC Philadelphia, after the buyers wired him about $712,500, Singh used the funds on personal expenses (such as $5,100 on a vehicle, $1,700 at a restaurant in Florida, and $1,300 on travel), sending photos and videos meant to mislead the buyers into thinking their gowns were being prepped for shipment.
New Jersey Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig told NBC Philadelphia that Singh is being charged with wire fraud.
This is just the latest in a string of similar incidents. In September, a Utah promo distributor was charged with posing as a 3M rep with a stockpile of millions of N95 masks for sale amid the early PPE shortages of 2020. In November, a Chicago-area man was charged with fraud after failing to deliver almost $3 million worth of PPE he sold.
In the latter instance, the alleged scammer had the money deposited into his personal bank account, rather than his company's, keeping it secret from his business partners and spending much of it on sports cars.
Such incidents highlight the challenges medical facilities and other companies faced as they looked to acquire large quantities of PPE early in the pandemic. And while these were unfortunate incidents that may have kept critical safety gear out of the hands of medical personnel who desperately needed it, they also made it tougher for legitimate distributors and brokers to earn the trust of first-time buyers in need of these items.
Unfortunately, this probably won't be the last story like this we see during the pandemic.