Chandler man sentenced for importing counterfeit N95 masks into United States in 2020
Dec 30, 2022, 8:00 PM
PHOENIX — A man from Chandler was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to pay restitution of $8,028 in tariffs and taxes for importing counterfeit N95 masks into the United States from China.
Mark Forrest Cohn, 68, sold over 20,000 masks to a third-party vendor which supplied PPE to a Veterans Affairs Medical Center warehouse in Minneapolis, Minn., the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona said in a press release.
Authorities say the vendor was not aware the masks were fake.
Prosecutors say Cohn imported N95 masks from China in October 2020 that appeared to be manufactured by 3M, a medical supplies manufacturing conglomerate.
Shipping labels were made to keep up the appearance that the masks were goods not subject to inspection by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
After the goods arrived at a Phoenix mail facility, a box was inspected by Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers as part of an enforcement operation.
Photos of the masks, branded with pixelated photos on the packaging, were sent to 3M, which advised that the products were counterfeit on Nov. 3, 2020.
The counterfeits were seized before they reached frontline health workers in the height of the pandemic.
Cohn’s sentence was part of an agreement to plead guilty to one felony count of entry of goods by means of false statements.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.