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Indian American Man Charged with Scamming $700K COVID Fraud With Companies Seeking PPE

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PHILADELPHIA, PA – A Philadelphia man was charged with scamming $700,000 from two New York-based companies by falsely promising to sell them much-needed personal protective equipment amid the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities said.

Gauravjit Singh, 26, faces one count of wire fraud, New Jersey Acting U.S. Attorney Rachael A. Honig announced Wednesday.

Singh claimed he had contacts with a factory in China that manufactured medical gowns, according to court documents. He entered into agreements with the unnamed victim companies through his business, Mask Medical LLC, in which he would be paid about $7.125 million for 1.5 million medical gowns, a criminal complaint said.

The targets of his scheme wired Singh approximately $712,500, but he didn’t deliver the protective gear, according to the document. As part of the fraud, he sent photos and video purporting to show factory workers preparing the gowns for shipment and offered excuses about the supposed shipments.

“Instead of purchasing and delivering medical gowns, Singh used the funds for personal expenses,” an FBI special agent wrote in an affidavit.

Singh spent the ill-gotten funds on personal expenses, including about $5,100 on a vehicle, $1,700 for a Thai restaurant in Florida and approximately $1,300 for travel, according to the complaint. He allegedly transferred $220,000 of the money to his brokerage account and spent other amounts on online gaming.

A defense attorney for Singh could not be immediately reached Thursday night.

Federal and local authorities have warned of fraudsters looking to exploit the pandemic with various schemes.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office asked any possible victims of Singh’s scam to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit www.fbi.gov

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