Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost announced on Tuesday that he had filed a lawsuit against several people selling personal protective equipment for a markup online.
Yost filed against Mario Salwan of Chagrin Falls and others for operating an eBay store under the now-deleted username “Donkey476.” The group sold N95 masks, hand sanitizer and toilet paper for nearly 18 times the retail price.
“There’s another word for donkey that immediately comes to mind when thinking about these folks,” Yost said in a statement.
The group acquired more than 1,200 N95 masks during March, selling packages of 10 N95 masks to 15 purchasers at prices between $360 to $375 — roughly $36 per mask. N95 masks typically sell for $2.05 per mask.
As the state faces a critical shortage of PPE, AG Yost today filed a lawsuit against an individual from NE Ohio and his co-conspirators for hoarding N95 masks and selling them online for nearly 18 times the retail price.
— Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost (@OhioAG) April 14, 2020
The eBay seller was initially discovered by an emergency room nurse, who originally reached out to Salwan to ask him to reconsider his prices.
The attorney general said he plans to prosecute Salwan under the Valentine Act, Ohio’s antitrust law, which allows Yost’s office to “foster fair and honest interstate and intrastate competition.” Yost said he also believes Salwan violated the Ohio’s Consumer Sales Practices Act “by offering goods for sale at prices substantially increased because of an increased demand for the products caused by this national emergency.”
“We will continue to take action against anyone else in this state price gouging during this pandemic,” Yost said.
Ohio currently has more than 7,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the state, according to the Ohio Department of Health. The cases have caused more than 2,000 hospitalizations, more than 600 admissions to intensive care units and more than 300 deaths.
There are currently nearly 580,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. There have been more than 22,000 deaths from the virus.
Jordyn Pair is a reporter with The Michigan Star. Follow her on Twitter at @JordynPair. Email her at [email protected]