Toronto Man Arrested for Shipping Prohibited COVID-19 Test Kits

March 27, 2020 Updated: March 28, 2020

A Canadian man is facing fraud charges after allegedly shipping “prohibited COVID-19 testing kits” to the United States, Toronto police said.

Investigators said in a March 27 release that they had taken a 43-year-old suspect into custody in an “ongoing fraud investigation” that involved illicit home testing kits that claimed to be able to detect COVID-19 infection.

U.S. Homeland Security (DHS) officials intercepted a package at the U.S.-Canada border on Wednesday, and found that the parcel “contained 25 individual prohibited COVID-19 testing kits.”

Canadian authorities, acting in coordination with DHS and other agencies, including Canada Post, found that multiple parcels containing the COVID-19 tests had been shipped across Canada and into the United States, and traced them back to a Toronto residence.

Toronto police spokesperson Meaghan Gray told CP24, a Canadian news outlet, that the suspect was charging $10 for each kit, and selling masks for $20 apiece.

When asked by reporters if the kits were fake, Gray was cited by CBC as saying, “They are considered prohibited as there are no kits that have been approved for personal use in Canada.”

She added that Canadian authorities were working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to “determine the legitimacy of the products.”

‘No Legitimate Home Test Kits Available’

Authorities said the accused, identified as Jesse Wong, would face charges of fraud under $5000 and possession of a forgery device.

His court appearance is scheduled for May.

Police urged people to be careful not to fall for COVID-19 scams.

“Toronto Police would like to remind the public to be extra vigilant when it comes to those trying to sell or provide products or services associated to Covid-19. There are no legitimate ‘home test kits’ available,” they said.

Epoch Times Photo
Firefighters wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) walk away after responding to a medical call amid the COVID-19 outbreak in Seattle, Washington, on March 24, 2020. (Reuters/Brian Snyder)

FBI Warns of COVID-19 Scams

The FBI recently warned of new fraud schemes that are exploiting the CCP virus pandemic.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China before it was transmitted worldwide.

In a press release on March 20, U.S. Attorney Billy J. Williams for the District of Oregon and the FBI urged the public to be aware of the rising number of scams that target the vulnerable via fake websites, phone calls, and emails.

Authorities urged Americans to protect themselves by researching and independently verifying the identity of a company before clicking on links, donating to charities, contributing to crowd-funding campaigns, buying products online, and giving out personal information.

They also warned the public to be cautious of any investment opportunities tied to the CCP virus, including those claiming to provide products or services that prevent, treat, diagnose, or cure the virus, for which there is currently no known cure.

Frauds linked to COVID-19 include testing scams in which scammers sell fake at-home test kits or go door-to-door performing fake tests for money; and supply scams in which scammers create fake shops, websites, social media accounts, and email addresses claiming to sell medical supplies and personal protective equipment. These products include surgical masks such as N95 masks that have become scarce in the United States because of demand.

Katabella Roberts contributed to this report.

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