SI man arrested for stockpiling, marking up masks, other PPE: prosecutors

By 1010 WINS

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- A Staten Island man was arrested for allegedly stockpiling personal protective equipment, selling the items at high markups and falsely promising customers they would receive them the next day, prosecutors say. 

Kevin Jay Lipsitz, 61, was arrested and charged with violations of the Defense Production Act and wire fraud on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York said. 

Lipsitz, who is the CEO and owner of Inc., allegedly amassed a “large stockpile of PPE,” including facemasks, between February and April of this year, prosecutors said. 

The Staten Island resident then sold the items for anywhere from 150 percent to more than 500 percent what he paid for them, according to prosecutors. 

Lipsitz promised customers he would ship their orders out the day after they placed them, but ended up shipping many orders out “weeks after (they) were placed and after customers lodged complaints or tried to cancel their orders,” prosecutors said. 

“The defendant allegedly took advantage of the pandemic and the public’s urgent need for life-saving PPE to enrich himself illegally,” U.S. Attorney Richard Donoghue said in a statement. 

“Our office and the (U.S. Department of Justice’s) COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force will continue working tirelessly to put an end to such conduct,” he added. 

Lipsitz’ attorney information wasn’t immediately available Thursday.