April 10, 2020
An Atlanta man was arrested and charged by federal prosecutors in D.C. with wire fraud charges. The man is accused of attempting to sell millions of non-existent respirator masks to the Department of Veterans Affairs in exchange for upfront payments.
According to prosecutors, the defendant had promised the VA and others that he could obtain millions of masks while knowing that it would “not be possible.” The defendant allegedly told potential clients that he knew certain domestic factories that could still fulfill his orders.
Of course, the DOJ’s press release on the man’s arrest does not spell out what evidence the government has against the defendant, though the government will surely argue that the man must have known the factories could not fulfill his orders for masks at the time he solicited those orders from the VA and others. Meanwhile, the defendant may argue that, even if he might have been wrong about his ability to procure masks, he genuinely believed he could fulfill these orders when he made the offer. To convict a defendant of wire fraud, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant had an intent to deceive and defraud the victim.
Click here to read our firm’s primer on wire fraud charges.
Click here to read the DOJ press release.