DOJ: Arizona man arrested, accused of conspiring to inflate respirator mask prices

Officials with the U.S. Justice Department say an Arizona man has been accused of conspiring to violate the Defense Production Act by trying to resell masks in New York City at a markup.

According to a statement released Tuesday afternoon, 64-year-old William “Bill” Young Sr. of Phoenix was arrested. Another person, identified as 56-year-old Kent Bulloch of Santa Rosa, California, was also arrested. Bulloch, an attorney, was arrested Monday night.

In court filings, officials accuse Young and Bulloch of seeking out potential investors to sell one million KN95 respiratory masks for double or triple the purchase price, between March and April.

According to a Technical Bulletin released by 3M in January 2020, KN95 is a filtering facepiece respirator that is regulated by the Chinese Government.

To conceal the markup, Bulloch created and signed an agreement that falsely states that profits on the re-sale would not exceed 10%.

Officials say the potential investor was actually a federal law enforcement agent.

According to the DOJ, it is illegal to acquire medical supplies and devices designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as scarce in order to hoard them or sell them for excessive prices, after the President signed an executive order on March 18 invoking the Defense Production Act.

Officials say the Young and Bulloch face up to a year in prison, if convicted. Young is set to appear via teleconference in a federal court in Phoenix. Bulloch is also expected to make a court appearance, via teleconference, in a federal court in San Francisco.

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