It’s hard to believe that more than two years has passed since COVID-19 uprooted life. The health crisis caused so many changes across every aspect of life and opened the door for fraudsters to take advantage of new, pandemic-related fraud opportunities. (Nothing shows empathy for others quite like taking advantage of people during a global pandemic.)
Michael Casamento, 42, of Pittsburgh, Pa., was charged with stealing and selling over 13,000 PPE items over the internet. As the former Director of Emergency Management for the University of Pittsburgh, he admitted to stealing the PPE from his former employer between February and March of 2020. He was fired in July 2020. (What made him think that this was ever a good idea? Greed I suppose.)
The FBI was notified by PayPal of the illegal sales on eBay. (Did he think he would be untrackable?) Casamento admitted to making just short of $19,000 off the stolen PPE. The PPE mostly included Aura N-95 masks, surgical masks, and particulate masks. (If there’s a lesson here beyond don’t steal and sell work items, it’s definitely not to do so via PayPal. Uncle Sam is watching.)
Instead of handling the public emergency situation appropriately, Casamento created an emergency. (He deliberately tried to cash in on a public health crisis, which goes against his position as Director of Emergency Management at a large university. Not the brightest move ever made, right?)
Casamento pleaded guilty to one count of interstate transportation of stolen property. He is facing up to ten years in prison, a fine up to $250,000 and three years of probation when sentenced on June 15. (Was it really worth the $19,000 he made from this illegal scam? The government has unveiled this fraudster behind the N-95 mask. I’m ready to put this COVID-19 mess behind us, how about you?)
Today’s Fraud of the Day comes from the article, “Ex Pitt. Emergency official stole PPE masks, sold them for nearly $19k,” published by WKBN First News 27 on February 10, 2022.
PITTSBURGH, Pa. (WKBN) – A former Pittsburgh emergency official has admitted to making almost $19,000 from selling stolen PPE masks online.
Christopher D. Casamento, 42, admitted to stealing PPE from his former employer, the University of Pittsburgh, while serving as the director of Emergency Management.