Winnetka man charged with price gouging on masks

A Winnetka man has been charged with price gouging on personal protective equipment during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Krikor Topouzian, 60, who is the owner of a medical supply company based in Skokie, was charged with one count of violating the Defense Production Act of 1950 - legislation that gives the federal government authority "to expedite and expand the supply of materials and services from the U.S. industrial base needed to promote the national defense."

Topouzian was gouging customers on scarce N-95 masks, according to a news release issued Thursday by the U.S. attorney's office.

In March and April, Topouzian purchased about 79,160 respirator masks, including N-95 masks, for $5.08 each and later sold them for up to $19.95 each, the news release said.

Topouzian was warned several times to stop, the news release said.

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