A Brooklyn man caught hoarding enough black market medical supplies to “outfit an entire hospital” deliberately coughed on investigating FBI agents and told them he had the coronavirus, federal authorities said Monday.
Baruch Feldheim, 43, violated an executive order issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week that makes it illegal to hoard certain scarce health and medical resources, U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Craig Carpenito said.
These included N95 filtering face-piece respirators, personal protection equipment (PPE), surgical masks, disinfecting devices and other medical necessities that Carpenito said he sold to doctors and nurses at inflated prices.
In one instance, he said, Feldheim agreed to sell 1,000 N95 masks and other assorted materials for $12,000 -- a 700% or so markup from the ordinary price – to a physician he met on the WhatsApp chat group Virus2020!”
Feldheim directed the physician to an auto repair shop in Irvington that “contained enough materials, including hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning supply agents, and surgical supplies, to outfit an entire hospital,” Carpenito said the doctor told federal investigators.
“Feldheim later told the doctor that he had been forced to move all of those supplies from Irvington to another location,” he said.
Feldheim received a shipment from Canada last Wednesday of eight pallets of medical facemasks, Carpenito noted.
Soon after, FBI agents watched as people came to Feldheim’s home and left with “boxes or bags that appeared to contain medical supplies,” the U.S. attorney said.
The agents approached Feldheim, identified themselves and said they needed to keep a safe distance while they asked him some questions, Carpenito said.
Once they were within four or five feet of him, he said, Feldheim “coughed in their direction without covering his mouth” and then told them he had the coronavirus.
Feldheim then lied, telling the agents he worked for a company that bought and sold personal protective equipment (PPE) but didn’t have any himself and never sold them directly, Carpenito said.
Feldheim remained in custody Monday, charged with assaulting a federal officer and lying to law enforcement.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.