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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Western District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Former Emergency Management Official at Pitt Charged with Selling Stolen PPE on eBay

PITTSBURGH, PA – A former University of Pittsburgh employee has been indicted by a federal grand jury on a charge of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property, Acting United States Attorney Stephen R. Kaufman announced today.

The one-count Indictment named Christopher D. Casamento, age 42, of Pittsburgh, PA 15237, as the sole defendant.

According to the Indictment, Casamento was employed as Director of Emergency Management for the University of Pittsburgh and had access to quantities of personal protective equipment (PPE) including N95 respirator masks and surgical face masks, which were designated for the use of school employees and students. The indictment alleges that from February 28, 2020 to March 22, 2020, Casamento stole from the University 13,615 pieces of PPE, namely, Aura N95 respirator masks, surgical face masks and particulate respirator masks, which he sold on his eBay vendor page "steel-city-motor-toys" and shipped to buyers in states outside of Pennsylvania. According to the Indictment, Casamento earned approximately $18,783.50 from the eBay sales of the stolen PPE.

"At the start of the pandemic, when supplies of PPE were low and nationwide demand was intense, Mr. Casamento used his position of trust and access to critical PPE to enrich himself at the expense of Pitt students and faculty," said Acting U.S. Attorney Kaufman. "We will continue to investigate and prosecute individuals who illegally profit from COVID related fraud."

"Mr. Casamento had an obligation to make sure there was enough PPE to keep students and staff at the University of Pittsburgh safe," said FBI Pittsburgh Special Agent in Charge Michael Christman. "Instead, he chose to line his pockets. The allegations set forth today are upsetting. With so much widespread suffering in our communities due to COVID, having this vital equipment taken away from people is unfortunate. I would like to thank the University of Pittsburgh for their full cooperation in this investigation and hope this continues to send a message that COVID fraud will be fully investigated."

The public can report suspected COVID-19 fraud by calling or emailing the U.S. Attorney’s Office at:

• Western Pennsylvania COVID-19 Fraud Task Force’s Toll Free Hotline:

1-888-C19-WDPA or 1-888-219-9372

• Western Pennsylvania COVID-19 Fraud Task Force’s email address:

usapaw.covid19@usdoj.gov

The law provides for a maximum total sentence of not more than 10 years in prison, a fine not to exceed $250,000.00, a term of supervised release of not more than three years, or a combination thereof. Under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines, the actual sentence imposed would be based upon the seriousness of the offenses and the prior criminal history, if any, of the defendant.

Assistant United States Attorney Gregory C. Melucci is prosecuting this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the Indictment in this case.

An indictment is an accusation. A defendant is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Updated March 24, 2021