CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – An agreement was filed today in federal court in Central Islip resolving the criminal case against Amardeep Singh, who was charged in April 2020 with violating the Defense Production Act of 1950 by hoarding personal protective equipment (PPE) amid the COVID-19 pandemic and price-gouging customers of his retail store. Under the terms of his Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Government, Singh will donate PPE valued at more than $450,000 to hospitals, health care providers, first responders and other essential workers involved with addressing the needs of those affected by the pandemic and working to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Seth D. DuCharme, Acting United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, Craig Carpenito, head of the Department of Justice’s nationwide COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, and Philip R. Bartlett, Inspector-in-Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service, New York Division (USPIS), announced the disposition.
“The defendant has accepted responsibility for taking advantage of a public health emergency for personal profit,” stated Acting United States Attorney DuCharme. “Today’s deferred prosecution agreement is a victory for heroic healthcare workers and first-responders who will benefit from the personal protective equipment relinquished by the defendant in their continuing battle against the COVID-19 virus.”
“This defendant’s attempt to charge unnecessarily high prices for badly needed and vitally important protective gear was an early example of how some people will try to unscrupulously profit from a national health care emergency,” stated head of the Department of Justice’s nationwide COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force Carpenito. “Today’s agreement thwarts that attempt, and resolves the matter by getting this personal protective equipment to the people who need it.”
“Mr. Singh took advantage of being the ‘only game in town’ with PPE during the height of the coronavirus pandemic, by jacking up the prices on life-saving equipment needed by first responders, medical personnel and the general public. Singh held himself out as a local hero but we now know this was totally untrue,” stated USPIS Inspector-in-Charge Bartlett.
On March 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, President Donald Trump issued Executive Order 13909 invoking the Act making it illegal to acquire medical supplies and devices designated by the Secretary of Health and Human Services as scarce in order to hoard them or sell them for excessive prices.
On April 14, 2020, Postal Inspectors executed a search warrant at Singh’s retail store and a consensual search of the warehouse and seized 23 pallets containing more than 100,000 face masks, 10,000 surgical gowns, nearly 2,500 full-body isolation suits and more than 500,000 pairs of disposable gloves.
On April 24, 2020, Singh became the first person in the nation charged with violating the Act after accumulating merchandise, some of which had been officially designated as scarce, at his retail store in Plainview, and at a warehouse in Brentwood, including 40 shipments of disposable face masks weighing more than 1.6 tons, 14 shipments of disposable surgical gowns weighing more than 2.2 tons, six shipments of hand sanitizer weighing more than 1.8 tons and seven shipments of digital thermometers weighing approximately 253 pounds. Singh then sold those items to the public at inflated prices.
Attorney General William P. Barr created the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, led by Craig Carpenito, United States Attorney for District of New Jersey, who is coordinating efforts with the Antitrust Division and U.S. Attorneys across the country wherever illegal activity involving protective personal equipment occurs. The Secretary of Health and Human Services has issued a Notice designating categories of health and medical supplies that must not be hoarded or sold for exorbitant prices.
Please report COVID-19 fraud, hoarding or price-gouging to the National Center for Disaster Fraud’s National Hotline at (866) 720-5721, or e-mail: email@example.com.
The government’s case is being prosecuted by the Office’s Long Island Criminal Division, with assistance from the Department of Justice’s Hoarding and Price-Gouging Task Force. Assistant United States Attorney Anthony Bagnuola is in charge of the prosecution.
AMARDEEP SINGH (also known as “Bobby Singh” and “Bobby Sidana”)
Woodbury, New York
E.D.N.Y. Docket No. 20-MJ-326