Georgia man charged with trying to sell 50 million N95 masks he didn't have

A Georgia man was charged May 28 with attempting to sell 50 million N95 masks he didn't actually possess to a foreign government for $317 million. 

Through his company, Spectrum Global Holdings, Paul Penn allegedly agreed to act as a middleman in exchange for a cut of the $317 million. 

The negotiated sales price for the masks was more than 500 percent higher than the normal market value for N95 masks, the U.S. Justice Department said. 

The foreign government wired the money to Mr. Penn's company, but the money was intercepted by the U.S. Secret Service before the transaction was completed.

"This case should serve as a strong deterrent to those considering exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic to enrich themselves through fraud," said Glen Kessler, resident agent in charge of the secret service's Savannah, Ga., office.  

Read the Justice Department's full news release here

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