Illinois businessman convicted of price-gouging N95 masks during early weeks of pandemic
Jul 2, 2023, 9:10 AM | Updated: 2:37 pm
CHICAGO (AP) — An Illinois businessman has been convicted of price-gouging in connection with the sale of N95 masks during the early weeks of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Krikor Topouzian, 62, of Winnetka, was convicted Thursday in federal court in Chicago following a bench trial, the Chicago Sun-Times reported. He could face up to a year in prison when he is sentenced Oct. 10.
Topouzian owned a health supply company in Skokie, Illinois, according to prosecutors. He purchased about 80,000 N95 masks in March and April of 2020 for about $5 per mask and then sold them for about $20 per mask, prosecutors said. He boasted about making as much as $80,000 per day and $1 million in a matter of weeks, prosecutors said.
The masks had been labeled “scarce materials” during the pandemic as part of the Defense Production Act.
Matt McQuaid, one of Topouzian’s attorneys, said in an email to The Associated Press on Sunday that Topouzian plans to appeal his conviction. Toupouzian believes he did nothing wrong and that he received overwhelming support from his customers for providing the masks, McQuaid said.