A Winnetka, Illinois, medical supply company owner was convicted Friday of price-gouging N-95 masks at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krikor Topouzian, 62, was the owner of Concord Health Supply in Skokie, Illinois. In his capacity as company president, he accumulated around 79,160 N-95 masks between March and April 2020 at around $5.08 a pop.

Due to the pandemic, former President Donald Trump had designated the masks as scarce material under the provisions of the Defense Production Act. As such, selling the masks far above market prices was illegal.

Despite this and despite warnings from friends, customers and law enforcement that his prices were too high, Topouzian sold the masks at prices as high as $19.95 per single mask, a markup of 185% to 367% per mask.

Topouzian also remained brazen in the face of warnings about his price gouging, responding to one such message that “Who is going to report me?…  I’ve already been threatened by so many people that they’re going to call the FBI,” according to written Findings of Fact cited in a Justice Department release.

To offset negative reviews of his company regarding the blatant gouging, Topouzian recruited a relative to find friends and others to write fictitious, positive reviews of Topouzian’s business online.

At another point, Topouzian boasted in a text message that “You can’t imagine my business. $50-80,000 a day, I did $1 million in the last couple weeks.”

Topouzian is due for sentencing on Oct. 10, 2023, and faces up to one year in prison.

For more information, visit The Washington Times COVID-19 resource page.


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