Whitestone grocers arrested for price gouging
by Shane Miller
May 13, 2020 | 1313 views | 0 0 comments | 139 139 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Two individuals who allegedly sold medical face masks from a Whitestone grocery store at an inflated price were arrested last week.

Tae Kyong Kim, 49, of College Point, and Jung Soo Lee, 61, of Bayside, were both issued tickets and ordered to appear in court on September 4.

According to the charges, an undercover detective visited Raspberry Farms at 150-15 14th Avenue and noticed several boxes of face masks. The price tag for a box of two KF94 masks was $10.

Face masks – mandated to be worn by anyone outside who cannot socially distance from others – cost about $1 each.

A second detective visited the store later that same day and saw 12 boxes of ten KN95 masks listed for $45 each.

“Sadly, the outbreak of the coronavirus has inspired greed and manipulation,” said Queens district attorney Melinda Katz. “We are actively seeking out individuals and businesses that would take advantage of people’s real fears during this pandemic to line their own pockets.”

Police executed a search warrant yesterday at the store and recovered invoices showing the managers paid $30 for the KN95 masks they were re-selling for $45. They charged $39 for a box of 50 disposable masks, which they purchased for $24.

The defendants allegedly told police that they had increased the prices of everything in their store by 50 percent.

Under the Department of Consumer and Worker’s Protection’s Emergency Price Gouging Rule, it is illegal to increase the price of essential goods and services more than 10 percent above the price at which the same item could have been purchased by consumers prior to March 15.

Katz urged consumer to call her office at (718) 286-6673 if they know of a business or individual inflating the price of needed personal protection equipment.

“These arrests should serve as a warning that the NYPD is vigilant in

investigating those who prey on New Yorkers and attempt to financially

benefit during the pandemic,” said NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea.
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