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Texas man sentenced for N95 mask scam involving Australian government

N95 mask
Posted at 6:08 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 19:08:22-05

A 56-year-old Texas man has been sentenced for selling 50 million non-existent N95 facemasks to the Australian government.

Arael Doolittle of Houston pleaded guilty July 27 of 2021, according to U.S. Department of Justice; the court was given evidence that indicated he stole another's identity and forged their signature to commit the offense.

"The Australian government was supposed to pay over $317 million for the masks, but authorities disrupted the transaction before it was completed," said the DOJ.

U.S. District Judge Lynn N. Hughes sentenced Doolittle to a 54-month sentence, according to the DOJ.

"Judge Hughes noted even though there was no actual financial loss in this case, there are still costs associated with cases like this that victims of frauds suffer," said the DOJ.

Doolittle is also charged in a separate case for conspiracy to commit wire fraud.

"In that scheme, he solicited victims to invest in a petroleum trading company," said the release. "However, Doolittle did not invest their money as promised. He actually used the funds to finance unrelated business and personal expenses."

Doolittle defrauded the victims out of $1,935,613.95, according to the DOJ. The two sentences will be served consecutively and total 108 months.

"On May 17, the Attorney General established the COVID-19 Fraud Enforcement Task Force to marshal the resources of the Department of Justice in partnership with agencies across government to enhance efforts to combat and prevent pandemic-related fraud," said the DOJ.