COLUMBUS, Ohio (WDTN) – Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost filed a lawsuit against an individual from northeast Ohio and his co-conspirators for hoarding N95 respirator masks and selling them online for nearly 18 times the retail price.
A man going by the eBay username “Donkey476” from Chagrin Falls and others operated an online store and seeing an opportunity to profit from the COVID-19 driven increase in demand for essential products such as N95 masks, hand sanitizer and toilet paper, the group began to hoard them.
“There’s another word for donkey that immediately comes to mind when thinking about these folks,” Yost said. “We will continue to take action against anyone else in this state price gouging during this pandemic.”
The group ramped up operations during March and acquired more than 1,200 N95 masks.
Beginning on March 28, Donkey476 sold packages of 10 N95 masks to 15 purchasers at prices ranging from $360 to $375 – with the prices averaging $363.43, or $36.34 per mask. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the average retail price was $2.05 per mask.
According to the lawsuit, an emergency room nurse whose husband is an emergency room physician came across Donkey476’s listing for N95 masks on eBay. She reached out to him to urge him to reconsider his exorbitant prices for equipment that healthcare workers desperately need of because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
In his response, Donkey476 said, “You and your husband should work for free during this crisis, you are greedy!”
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