Florida man charged with stealing over $12 million in funds intended to be used to buy Personal Protective Equipment
ATLANTA – Brian Sperber has been indicted for defrauding personal protective equipment (“PPE”) purchasers out of more than $12 million during the COVID-19 pandemic, money which Sperber then allegedly used to fund his own lifestyle, including by purchasing a multi-million-dollar waterfront mansion.
“While others were marshalling limited medical resources to confront the COVID-19 pandemic, Sperber allegedly lined his pockets with stolen money that was intended to purchase lifesaving PPE for hospitals and medical institutions,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Kurt R. Erskine. “As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continue, this office will aggressively pursue those individuals who steal funds intended to be used to purchase critical medical equipment.”
“Sperber allegedly took advantage of companies trying to direct personal protective equipment to those protecting themselves against a deadly virus,” said Chris Hacker, Special Agent in Charge of FBI Atlanta. “Profiting from others’ hardships is something the FBI is determined to stop and will be a priority for our investigators during this pandemic.”
According to Acting U.S. Attorney Erskine, the charges, and other information presented in court: Brian Sperber, who was a distributor of PPE, allegedly embezzled over $12 million from customers seeking to purchase PPE during the COVID-19 pandemic. Sperber and a co-conspirator are alleged to have repeatedly sent customers falsified invoices, emails, and other documents to make them believe that their orders were on the way when in fact Sperber and his co-conspirator had misappropriated the funds.
Even though he was aware hospital and medical institutions needed this PPE as the pandemic worsened in early 2020, Sperber allegedly used millions of dollars’ of his victims’ funds for his own personal use, which included purchasing a multi-million dollar waterfront mansion in Boca Raton, Florida.
Brian Sperber, 44, of Boca Raton, Florida was charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, four counts of wire fraud, one count of conspiracy to commit money laundering, and four counts of money laundering. Sperber will be arraigned at a later date in the Northern District of Georgia.
Members of the public are reminded that the indictment only contains charges. The defendant is presumed innocent of the charges and it will be the government’s burden to prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt at trial.
This case is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas J. Krepp is prosecuting the case, and Assistant U.S. Attorney Sekret T. Sneed, Chief of the Asset Forfeiture and Money Laundering Section, is handling the forfeiture associated with this case.
For further information please contact the U.S. Attorney’s Public Affairs Office at USAGAN.PressEmails@usdoj.gov or (404) 581-6016. The Internet address for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Georgia is http://www.justice.gov/usao-ndga.