MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesota company 3M has filed five lawsuits in Florida, Wisconsin and Indiana against vendors they say targeted emergency officials and fraudulently offering N95 respirators at inflated prices.
According to Business Wire, one of the suits centers around a vendor who 3M said claimed to have up to 5 billion respirators, which they were offering at inflated prices while falsely affiliating themselves with 3M. The suit lists that vendor as Zachary Puznak — with two related entities, Zenger LLC and ZeroAqua.READ MORE: Sheriff: Inmate Jesse James Crabtree 'Walked Away' From NERCC Prison
The lawsuit says Puznak tried to sell the respirators at double their list price to the state of Indiana, calling the offer an “Easter gift.” And when the state’s employees asked for confirmation to his connection to 3M, he accused them of “paranoid irrationality,” and said 3M had told him to abandon the deal.
In Wisconsin, 3M’s suit says that Hulomil LLC tried to sell 250,000 respirators to the state at inflated prices, and tried to have them sign a nondisclosure agreement about the deal.READ MORE: Minnesota Weather: 80 Expected For Monday; Summery And Damp Week Ahead
Other purported vendors that are listed in suits by 3M include Florida-based TAC2 Global LLC (who the suit also alleges tried to sell hand sanitizer at inflated rates); Georgia-based 1 Ignite Capital LLC, Institutional Financial Sales LLC, and Auta Lopes (with the suit claiming they tried to sell 10 million respirators at 460% over list price); and also King Law Center (for allegedly twice pretending to be affiliated with 3M).
“3M has no affiliation whatsoever with the Defendants, whose fraudulent scheme during a global pandemic represents not only a new low in rapacious profiteering, but also endangers lives by diverting state officials from legitimate sources of much-needed respirators,” the suit claims.MORE NEWS: Girl In 'Very Critical Condition' After Being Shot At Minneapolis Birthday Party
In all, 3M has filed 10 lawsuits in April so far to combat fraud.