Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost today announced the state of Ohio has filed a lawsuit against a Chagrin Falls man for hoarding thousands of N95 masks and selling them at an exorbitant markup during the pandemic crisis.
Mario Salwan and unnamed co-conspirators operated an eBay store under the account name of "Donkey476" where they were hawking 10-packs of N95 masks for more than $350 apiece. At least 15 customers bought the masks at that price, Yost said in a statement, and Salwan had acquired thousands of masks in the past month as the state of Ohio and hospitals struggled with limited PPE supplies.
A healthcare worker brought the posting to the attention of the AG's office after asking the account to consider a lower price for frontline workers. “You and your husband should work for free during this crisis, you are greedy!” Salwan replied to the nurse.
The 1,700-percent markup, as well as the vast quantities acquired, qualify as violations of Ohio's Valentine Act (in restraining trade) and Consumer Sales Practices Act (in price gouging during a national emergency), the lawsuit argues.
“There's another word for donkey that immediately comes to mind when thinking about these folks,” Yost said in a press release. “We will continue to take action against anyone else in this state price gouging during this pandemic.”
A copy of the lawsuit is viewable below. (Users may have to switch to desktop view.)
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