A 24-year-old Muskegon, MI man is now facing federal charges for offering to sell N95 masks that either were not authentic or never sent at all. An N95 respirator mask is a mask that covers the users nose and mouth and filters at least 95% of airborne particles. It is the medical standard when it comes to face masks. He is accused of scamming people online who were looking to buy the protective face masks during the current COVID-19 pandemic. He has been charged with federal mail fraud by the United States government in the Northern District Court of California. The Michigan State Attorney General has also recently announced an investigation into the man and his company EM General for price-gouging, and misleading customers into purchases that were never going to be filled nor refunded.
Original Case Details
The federal complaint which is the basis for the federal mail fraud charge alleges that customers of EM General paid as much as $40 per mask, but many never received them. Others who bought masks were sent cheaply made knockoffs that did not comply with the standards of real N95 masks. The man is also accused of attempting to make EM General appear more legitimate by using stock photos of people from the internet to make a page of the “employees” of EM General. He is also accused of naming a fake CEO for his “company.” Customers of EM General included paramedics and other hospital workers who were trying to do their best to protect themselves during this pandemic, but ultimately most never received their masks. In response to complaints from customers, EM General claimed that the delay in shipping was due to the masks being shipped from Turkey. It is not clear how many alleged victims there are in this case as the complaint simply states that EM General scammed “several” people into buying N95 face masks that they never received. This case is still being investigated jointly by FBI and federal postal inspection services in both San Francisco and Detroit.
His Current Charges
The man is currently facing a federal charge of mail fraud. He faces up to 30 years in prison if he is convicted, along with a fine of up to $1 million. A charge of mail fraud basically alleges that someone committed a fraud upon another using the United States Mail to help execute the fraudulent activity. Normally this is a 20-year maximum federal felony, but since this charge is in relation to a presidentially declared major disaster or emergency, the punishment gets increased to a maximum of 30 years in prison. The United States Attorney in this case accuses the man and his company of preying on customers’ fear and uncertainty during the COVID-19 pandemic. He also alleges that EM General caused a “consumer’s nightmare” of fake information, webpages, and promises that were never going to be kept. If he is convicted and serves a prison sentence, he will also serve five years of federal court supervision once he is released. The possibility also remains that he could be charged with other crimes in other state and federal courts as the investigation into EM General and this Muskegon man continues. He has so far been to court for one appearance in the Western District Court of Michigan after his arrest at his home in Muskegon. His further court dates have yet to be determined.
Any Further Questions?
If you have any additional questions relating to this case or anything else related to federal mail fraud, then we are happy to offer a FREE consultation. If you or someone you love is facing a criminal charge or is currently being investigated for a possible criminal charge, then it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney immediately. At Grabel & Associates, we have over 100 years of combined experience in successfully representing clients in both federal and state court respectively. We are a criminal defense firm, it’s all we do. We are available by phone on our 24/7 defense line at 1-800-342-7896. You can contact us online or come visit us at one of our three statewide offices. We can also come to you.