Price-gouging ghouls busted in Queens on charges of seeking $10 for scarce $1 face masks, cops and DA say
Cops said the price gouging ghouls sought to cash in on the global pandemic with an online ad for overpriced R95 masks.(ShutterStock)
There’s no masking the greed of this crime.
A trio of soulless salesmen was arrested for peddling medical face masks for 10 times the asking price — just days after authorities urged New Yorkers to cover their mouths and noses to help fight off coronavirus.
Cops said the price-gouging ghouls were trying to cash in on the global pandemic with an online advertisement for R95 masks sold by health and safety goods manufacturer 3M.
According to the officials, an undercover detective with the NYPD Financial Crimes Task Force posed as a buyer, and responded to an online advertisement offering 1,000 masks for $10 each. After about 2 weeks of trading text messages, a meeting was set up for Friday morning.
The “buyer” met suspects Yuriy Borukhov, 33, and Maisey Khovasov, 23, at a designated spot in Queens shortly after 10 a.m.
One of the men asked the undercover detective if he was there to buy masks. And when the he confirmed that he was, a third man, Michael Borukhov, 23, approached and they all walked toward a waiting Chrysler automobile, officials said.
According to cops, Borokhov opened the trunk and produced two boxes containing 240 R95 face masks. The undercover detective gave the men $10,000 in cash, officials said.
Moments later, the three men were arrested for price gouging. Cops said they recovered another 820 R95 masks in the same car.
“We are in the midst of a global pandemic,” said Queens DA Melinda Katz. “Thousands of people have died and medical workers do not have enough personal protection equipment to do their jobs safely.
“The governor and mayor have mandated that all people wear masks in public. Sadly, these three men allegedly thought about pocketing a profit as a result of the coronavirus outbreak by price gouging,” Katz said. "This is unconscionable and will not stand in Queens County.”
“Exploiting people’s need to protect themselves for personal gain is always wrong,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “It is unconscionable in an ongoing pandemic, when everyone from healthcare providers to police officers to everyday New Yorkers needs this life saving equipment."
The suspects were issued desk appearance tickets and charged with a city code violation. They face no jail time. Katz said she hopes the legislature will pass a law imposing jail time for such offenses.