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Press Release

Troy Businessman Pleads Guilty to Hoarding and Price Gouging Facemasks

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Northern District of New York

ALBANY, NEW YORK – Imran Selcuk, age 35, of Troy, New York, pled guilty today to hoarding and price gouging in violation of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (DPA). The announcement was made by Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon and Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of the Buffalo Field Office of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).

“Selcuk saw the pandemic as an opportunity to rip off Capital Region residents and prey upon their fears,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Antoinette T. Bacon. “He purchased thousands of masks from overseas and offered them for sale at highly inflated prices when masks were scarce and the pandemic had just started to take hold.  This office will continue to work in coordination with the COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force to prevent greedy profiteers from taking advantage of this emergency for illicit gain.”

“It is unfathomable that during a global pandemic, individuals such as Selcuk place their selfish greed above service to community,” said Kevin Kelly, Special Agent in Charge of HSI Buffalo.  “Homeland Security Investigations will continue to work tirelessly to arrest anyone attempting to leverage the pandemic to illicitly profit from our communities.”

As part of his guilty plea to a misdemeanor, Selcuk admitted that, in March 2020, he purchased approximately 100,000 KN95 facemasks and 25,000 surgical-style facemasks for $1 per mask and 50 cents per mask, respectively. Selcuk then offered these masks for sale at his Troy pizza restaurant and through a website at markups of as high as 500%.  Selcuk also admitted that his website falsely represented that the KN95 masks he offered for sale were certified by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).  In fact, the FDA does not “certify” facemasks.   

U.S. Magistrate Judge Christian F. Hummel is scheduled to sentence Selcuk on July 2, 2021.  Selcuk faces up to one year in prison, a $10,000 fine, and up to one year of post-imprisonment supervised release.  A defendant’s sentence is imposed by a judge based on the particular statute the defendant is charged with violating, the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other factors.

This case was investigated by HSI, with assistance from the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, and is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Michael D. Gadarian and Joshua R. Rosenthal.

This case was brought in coordination with the Department of Justice’s COVID-19 Hoarding and Price Gouging Task Force, which organizes efforts among the Antitrust Division and U.S. Attorney’s offices across the country to address illegal activity involving personal protective equipment.

Updated March 5, 2021

Consumer Protection