N.Y. store owner charged under Defense Production Act for allegedly price gouging PPE
UPDATED 12:22 PM PT — Saturday, April 25, 2020
A New York man has become the first person to be charged under the Defense Production Act for allegedly hoarding and price gouging personal protective equipment. On Friday, the Justice Department announced a criminal complaint against Amardeep Singh, the owner of a retail store in Plainview near Long Island.
He has been accused of hoarding massive amounts of PPE and selling it at overpriced rates.
— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) April 24, 2020
The act, which was invoked by President Trump in March, prohibits the stockpiling of items like face masks, hand sanitizer and gloves amid the pandemic.
The man’s lawyer has said Singh was making those items available to a community in need and claimed there is nothing criminal about that.
“My client, like many other individuals around the country, are selling PPE to communities, to people who need it, to police officers who aren’t getting it, to hospital workers and other front line first responders,” stated attorney Brad Gerstman. “I simply cannot wrap my mind around criminalizing this activity.”
In a recent video, Singh apologized for making what he called an “honest mistake.” The store owner is facing up to one year behind bars.