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Justice News

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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Former Pitt Emergency Official Admits Stealing and Selling PPE Masks During the Covid Pandemic

PITTSBURGH, PA- A resident of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has pleaded guilty to one count of been of Interstate Transportation of Stolen Property, United States Attorney Cindy K. Chung announced today.

Christopher D. Casamento, age 42, of Pittsburgh, PA 15237, pleaded guilty to one count before the Honorable Arthur J. Schwab.

The United States represented that PayPal informed the FBI that a vendor on Ebay known as “Steel-City-Motor-Toys” sold over 13,000 PPE, primarily Aura N-95 Masks, surgical masks and particulate masks at inflated prices during the height of the Covid pandemic in early 2020. FBI confirmed that the registered owner of Steel City Motor Toys was the defendant, Christopher D. Casamento, who admitted to stealing PPE from his former employer, the University of Pittsburgh while serving as the Director of Emergency Management during the Covid pandemic from February 28, 2020, to March 22, 2020. Masks were shipped to buyers in states outside of Pennsylvania, earning Casamento approximately $18,783.50. Casamento was terminated by University of Pittsburgh officials in July 2020.

The court scheduled sentencing for June 15, 2022, at 9:30 a.m. 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 prosecuted this case on behalf of the government.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted the investigation leading to the prosecution of Casamento.

Topic(s): 
Coronavirus
Financial Fraud
Updated February 9, 2022