ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – A 35-year-old Troy pizza restaurant owner has pled guilty to hoarding and price gouging around 125,000 face masks during the coronavirus pandemic. Big Apple Pizzaria owner, Imran Selcuk, purchased around 100,000 KN95 facemasks and 25,000 surgical-style facemasks in March 2020, which he then placed for sale at up to 500% of the purchase price.
Selcuk, who purchased the masks for around $1.50 each, also admitted to falsely claiming the KN95 masks he offered for sale were certified by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA does not “certify” facemasks.
Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon said: “Selcuk saw the pandemic as an opportunity to rip off Capital Region residents and prey upon their fears.” She went on to say her office will continue working to: “prevent greedy profiteers from taking advantage of this emergency for illicit gain.”
“Selcuk saw the pandemic as an opportunity to rip off Capital Region residents and prey upon their fears.
He purchased thousands of masks from overseas and offered them for sale at highly inflated prices when masks were scarce and the pandemic had just started to take hold. This office will continue to work in coordination with the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force to prevent greedy profiteers from taking advantage of this emergency for illicit gain.”Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon
Selcuk offered the masks for sale at his Troy restaurant, Big Apple Pizzeria on 14th Street, and through a website.
Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Buffalo, said it is “unfathomable” that people like Selcuk “place their selfish greed above service to community,” during a global pandemic.
Selcuk is scheduled to be sentenced on July 2, 2021. He faces up to one year in prison, a $10,000 fine, and up to one year of post-imprisonment supervised release.