UPDATED 5:42 p.m.: Alaska Attorney General Kevin Clarkson filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Anchorage resident Juan Lyle Aune over claims of price gouging for N-95 respirator face masks used as protection against COVID-19.
The complaint alleges that Aune purchased the N-95 masks from Alaska stores and then sold them online for a profit.
According to the complaint, Aune is said to have purchased the masks from a number of Alaska stores, including Lowe’s, Home Depot and Spenard Builders Supply.
During one trip to Lowe’s, Aune purchased the store’s entire supply of 3M N95 Respirators – a total of 293 20-packs, the Law Department cited in a Wednesday morning press release.
Aune allegedly told a Lowe’s employee that he was “flipping” the masks for a profit of about $50 per box. The complaint further alleges that Aune generally purchased 20-packs of N95 respirators for $17 to $23 in local stores and then resold the 20-packs on Amazon for an average price of $89.25. Aune also sold 20-packs of N95 respirators on eBay for as much as $89.99.
“Price gouging is simply unacceptable,” Clarkson said in a statement. “The Department of Law is fully committed to taking action against those who would engage in unscrupulous behavior to profit off of COVID-19.”
The complaint asks the court to impose a separate $25,000 fine for every such sale Aune made.
Hoarding and price gouging were recently declared federal crimes.
Section 102 of the Defense Production Act prohibits hoarding of designated items such as ventilators, filtering respirators, medical gowns, certain drugs, and sanitizing and disinfecting products. President Donald Trump signed an executive order March 23 authorizing the secretary of Health and Human Services to protect these and other scarce medical items.
Aune is also listed as a registered sex offender in the state of Alaska and was convicted of second degree sexual abuse of a minor in 2003.
Contact staff writer Erin McGroarty at 459-7544. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMpolitics.