Chicago Man Arrested Over $2.6M in Fraudulent PPE Sales to Hospitals
A Chicago-area man is being charged with fraud after allegedly swindling two large hospitals out of almost $3 million for PPE he never delivered.
Dennis W. Haggerty, Jr., president of At Diagnostics Inc., was arrested on Tuesday for wire fraud after he and two business partners sold a combined one million N95 masks to two large university hospitals in Chicago and Iowa City.
The hospitals deposited the money into a bank account that Haggerty claimed was run by At Diagnostics, but really was his own. According to a Justice Department press release, Haggerty spent part of the money on two Maserati sports cars and a Land Rover SUV.
After failing to deliver the face masks as promised, Haggerty allegedly told one of the hospital clients that his bank had no record of their payment. Haggerty’s business partners also confronted him about where the money was, and he doctored his bank statements to look like the payments never went through, the Justice Department said.
Haggerty’s charges are punishable by up to 20 years in prison, if convicted.
This is the second case of major fraud involving N95 masks that we’ve covered this year. The first was similar, after a distributor claimed to be affiliated with 3M, and told potential customers that he had a stockpile of N95 masks, which he never delivered. Health officials have warned of fraudulent PPE scams throughout the pandemic.
PPE shortages, especially for medical-grade items like N95 masks, have been an ongoing issue since the pandemic began. The FDA expects some critical items to remain scarce for a long time, which now poses an even greater problem for health workers as COVID-19 cases spike to record levels in the U.S.