New York Man Arrested for Hoarding Masks, Coughing on FBI Agents

March 31, 2020 Updated: March 31, 2020

A New York man was arrested for allegedly hoarding face masks and coughing on FBI agents after telling them that he was diagnosed with the CCP virus.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) said 43-year-old Baruch Feldheim, of Brooklyn, was hoarding and selling medical equipment and masks, alleging he was trying to take advantage of the crisis caused by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) virus. He is accused of selling equipment at a 700 percent markup, the agency added.

“In one instance, on March 18, 2020, a doctor in New Jersey contacted Feldheim via a WhatsApp chat group labeled ‘Virus2020!’ Feldheim agreed to sell to the doctor approximately 1,000 N95 masks and other assorted materials for $12,000, an approximately 700 percent markup from the normal price charged for those materials,” the DOJ’s news release said.

A doctor was then told to go to an auto repair shop in New Jersey to pick up the order, the agency alleged.

The doctor, who was not named, then told officials that “the repair shop contained enough materials, including hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning supply agents, and surgical supplies, to outfit an entire hospital,” officials said.

Days later, Feldheim allegedly tried to sell a nurse surgical gowns and told her to go to his home in Brooklyn.

“Feldheim also received, on March 25, 2020, a shipment from Canada containing approximately eight pallets of medical facemasks. On March 27, 2020, FBI agents observed an empty box of N95 masks outside of Feldheim’s residence,” the news release said.

When FBI agents approached him on March 29, Feldham coughed in their direction without covering his mouth, the DOJ said.

“The agents then told him that they were looking for certain PPE materials and that they had information that Feldheim was in possession of large quantities of such materials. At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents that he had the coronavirus,” the news release stated.

Feldheim faces assault charges and making false statements. He could receive up to five years in prison.

“He falsely told the agents, among other things, that he worked for a company that bought and sold personal protective equipment and other materials and that he never took physical custody of the materials. Feldheim further falsely stated that he did not possess large quantities of personal protective equipment materials and that he never sold them directly to individuals,” the agency said.

The Justice Department urges Americans who believe CCP virus fraud, hoarding, or price-gouging to contact the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s National Hotline at (866) 720-5721 or at disaster@leo.gov.