A Brooklyn man claiming to be infected with the coronavirus coughed on FBI agents who were investigating him for hoarding medical supplies, the US Attorney’s Office said Monday.
Baruch Feldheim, 43, is facing charges of assault and making false statements to the feds on Sunday outside his Borough Park home where he allegedly peddled and stored massive amounts of N95 respirator masks, federal officials said.
Feldheim is also accused of price-gouging. On March 18, he’s suspected of selling a New Jersey doctor about 1,000 of the masks for $12,000, a markup of roughly 700 percent, authorities said.
The accused fraudster also directed another doctor to an Irvington, NJ, auto repair shop to pick up another order. There, the doctor reported to investigators that Feldheim was allegedly hoarding enough medical supplies “to outfit an entire hospital.”
Materials included: hand sanitizers, Clorox wipes, chemical cleaning supply agents and surgical supplies.
By last Monday, Feldheim was operating from his Brooklyn home, offering to push surgical gowns to a nurse, the feds said.
Two days later, the suspected hoarder received a gigantic shipment to his home of about eight pallets of face masks.
FBI agents then staked out his his house, first noticing empty boxes of N95 masks outside.
On Sunday, they said they witnessed “multiple instances” of people approach Feldheim’s residence and walked away with what appeared to be medical supplies.
The agents confronted Feldheim outside his house, keeping a safe social distance over coronavirus fears.
“When the agents were within four to five feet of him, Feldheim allegedly coughed in their direction without covering his mouth,” the US attorney’s release said. “At that point, Feldheim told the FBI agents that that he had the Coronavirus,” the statement said.
Feldheim then allegedly lied to FBI agents regarding his possession and sale of medical supplies.
He falsely told the agents that he worked for a company that bought and sold PPEs and that he never took physical custody of the materials.
The arrest comes after President Trump claimed that some medical supplies were being swiped from New York City hospitals, which Mayor Bill de Blasio dismissed as insulting.