A Georgia man was arrested on Friday for trying to defraud the Veterans Affairs Department out of millions of dollars, in one of the first big coronavirus related fraud cases brought by the Justice Department's new COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging task force.
Christopher Parris allegedly told the VA he had 125 million 3M masks and would sell them for $6.45 each. In fact, the equipment for sale did not exist, and the exchange would have totaled over $750 million. Lawyers for 3M say that these masks are typically sold for $.60 to $1.20 each. Parris is accused of exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic and trying to "obtain large upfront payments for scarce PPE that Parris knows he cannot fully obtain or deliver," according to a Justice Department affadavit supporting the complaint.
"We are still investigating," a DOJ official told CBS News. "But we have been able to demonstrate as set forth in the complaint that orders, significant orders of...several million dollars were made by entities to the defendants. And there were attempts that we know of to date to gain money by representations that we allege to be fraudulent, that were in the hundreds of millions of dollars."