Owner of Skokie medical supply company charged with price gouging PPE

Coronavirus

Personal protective equipment in a hospital during the pandemic, 2020 (Nexstar)

CHICAGO – The owner of a medical supply company in Skokie was charged Thursday with illegally price gouging customers seeking to buy PPE.

Krikor Topouzian, 60, of Winnetka, faces one count of violating the Defense Production Act of 1950.

Topouzian allegedly accumulated approximately 79,160 respirator masks, including N-95 masks, for a mean price of $5.08. The name of the company was not given by authorities.

Federal authorities believe Topouzian later sold the masks to customers for as high as $19.95 per mask.

“Amassing and reselling personal protective equipment at large markups during a global health crisis is not only greedy, it’s illegal under the Defense Production Act,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “Our office is working tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to protect the public and hold individuals accountable for attempting to illegally profit from the sale of scarce protective equipment.”

Anyone wishing to report COVID-19 fraud, hoarding, or price-gouging can do so by contacting the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s National Hotline via phone: (866) 720-5721, or e-mail: disaster@leo.gov.

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